By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN Start a family tradition this season with a fresh Christmas tree from the Delano Lions’ Christmas tree lot.
About 225 happy trees are lined up at Flippin’ Bills, on the corner of Highway 12 and County Line Road, ready for their new homes.
“We are open for sales all day until 10 p.m. through [Saturday] Dec. 10, or until the trees are sold,” Lions Club President John Sweet noted.
The Lions Club has a tree to fit every person’s style and budget.
Many of the balsam firs, Fraser firs, and scotch pines raised at Sand Country Trees near Becker cost $65 or less. Visitors can also select from several tall trees, costing about $100.
“We also get 20 to 25 Charlie Brown trees,” longtime Lion Dale Vander Linden said. “It’s amazing. They’re quite popular.”
The pitiful but endearing “Charlie Brown” trees go for $20.
“We started selling a week early this year,” Vander Linden said, explaining that many people enjoy decorating before Thanksgiving.
The Delano Lions Club has been conducting tree sales for more than 30 years, typically raising about $5,000 per year to support Lions’ projects in Delano, and the Lions’ vision and hearing programs.
“The Lions will pick up your used tree Saturday, Jan. 7,” Sweet noted. “A donated item for the food shelf is appreciated. Just leave the tree at the end of your driveway in the Delano city limits.”
The trees will then be taken to “Christmas tree heaven,” according to Vander Linden.
About the club
Vander Linden has been involved in Lions activities for several decades. Originally, he was in Toastmasters, and a good friend of his was in the Lions.
“He said, ‘I’ll join Toastmasters if you join Lions,’” Vander Linden recalled.
The club currently has 37 members, and new friends are always welcome.
“You can never have enough,” Vander Linden said.
Meetings take place the second Thursday of each month at the Juke Box, and the fourth Thursday of the month at various locations.
Each year, the group helps with the Delano Fourth of July parade, concessions, and 5k race.
The Lions have also supported several entities in the community, such as the Delano Fire Department, the Delano Area Education Foundation, Relay for Life, the Golden LivingCenter, and Franklin Township, to name a few.
Many individuals in the community appreciate the Lions for their assistance in providing eyeglasses and hearing aids to the needy.
In addition to service work, the Lions also take part in many friendship-building activities, such as a corn feed at Delano City Park each August.
The annual Lions Christmas party will take place at Lion Tom Schaffer’s home Thursday, Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m.
The awards meeting will take place at B’s on the River Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2012 at 6:30 p.m.
The Delano Lions are part of Lions Club International, which is comprised of 45,000 clubs and more than 1.3 million members around the world.
The organization was begun in 1917 by a Chicago business leader named Melvin Jones.
The group’s fight against blindness began in 1925, after Helen Keller addressed the Lions Clubs International Convention in Cedar Point, OH.
The Lions Club is the world’s largest service club organization, with a presence in more than 200 countries and geographic locations.
To learn more about the Delano Lions Club, contact Vander Linden at (763) 972-6726.