HJ/EDHerald Journal, Jan. 9, 2006

Waverly Lions give back to the community

By Jenni Sebora

Celebrating the anniversary of its charter the last day of January, the Waverly Lions Club has been dedicated to improving the quality of life in its local community and beyond for more than 20 years.

About 30 members strong, the Waverly Lions, part of Lions Club International, raises money through charitable gambling and other local fund raisers to respond to needs at “home” and around the world.

Although the amount raised through charitable gambling has decreased over the years, Waverly Lions secretary Tom Ogle noted that it is still the main source for money raised.

Aside from pull tab sales, the club’s main fund raisers include the annual fish fry, which takes place during Lent, Waverly Daze celebration activities, and the turkey bingo in November in conjunction with the Waverly Boosters.

“Our biggest fund raiser (besides charitable gambling) is Waverly Daze, during which we host a softball tournament, dance, and the beer garden in conjunction with other groups as a joint venture,” First Vice President Scott Painschab said.

But Painschab noted that the club also hosts other community fund raisers as well, such as meat raffles during the winter months, in conjunction with other groups and organizations, such as the Boy Scouts and youth organizations. The money raised is given to the co-host or sponsor of the activity.

Painschab noted that hosting fund raisers with another group is nice because the money raised then goes to the group who has shared in the work of the fund raising.

“These community fund raisers are beneficial because the club can donate the money raised without the red tape that is involved with charitable gambling funds,” Painschab said.

Ogle agreed, noting that there are some things that the club cannot give to with the charitable gambling funds.

Regardless of how the money is raised, almost all of it goes out to support some need somewhere, locally or beyond.

Locally, the Waverly Lions club donates to various groups, clubs, organizations, projects, and individuals, including the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted schools.

“The school is a big part of where our money goes,” Ogle said.

The Lions award annual scholarships to Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School graduating seniors, donates to the after-prom party, and other school activities.

About 10 years ago, through a joint effort with the Howard Lake Lions and Legion club, the Waverly Lions donated to the fencing project at Humphrey Elementary, Ogle noted.

Through another joint effort with the Howard Lake Lions, the Waverly Lions held a peace poster contest for the sixth grade classes, in which the students created posters demonstrating peace in the world, Ogle explained.

Lions members judged the posters, and two winners were selected and given cash prizes. The winning posters will then be judged among other area winning posters at the mid-winter convention in Bloomington, Ogle added.

The Lions have also donated locally to the sprinkling system project at Memorial Park, the fencing project at Yager Park in Waverly, and to the National Child Safety project through the Wright County Sheriff’s Department, the children’s Halloween party, and other youth activities including traveling youth clubs.

The club also supports international and district projects such as the Lions Eye Bank, Campaign Sight First, Camp Friendship and Camp Courage, Diabetes Foundation, Leader Dog, Hearing Dog, the Wellness Van, and the Macular Degenerative Center at the University of Minnesota, Ogle noted.

“The Lions Club International encourages Lions clubs to spread their donations out,” Ogle said. “What goes out depends on how the year went.”

The Waverly Lions also stay up-to-speed on what’s going on with the Lions organizations locally, statewide and internationally, by attending various meetings, such as the annual mid-winter convention in Bloomington, 5M7 zone meetings which include Waverly, Howard Lake, Cokato, Delano, Montrose, Maple Lake and Annandale clubs, and other Lions conventions that rotate its meeting location from Minnesota to Manitoba, as well as having its own club meetings two times monthly.

“Attending these meetings gets everyone in the swing of what’s going on, and what other Lions clubs are doing,” Painschab said.

The 5M7 zone meetings take place three times a year, and the location of the meetings is rotated, as well.

“In September, Cokato hosted the meeting; in November, Howard Lake hosted; and in April, Annandale will host (the zone meeting),” Ogle said.

And at these meetings, it’s the job of the tail twisters to collect money from each club, which is then given to the Lions district governor, who designates the collections to a chosen charity, Ogle noted.

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