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White River Valley LIons hope to roar back
The White River Valley Lions came into existence in 2008 with 26 members, poised and ready to serve the Pacific and Algona communities.
Five months after forming, the Lions went to work, filling sandbags and helping Pacific residents affected by White River flooding in 2009.
Now, almost five years later, the once mighty group – a part of Lions Club International, the world's largest volunteer service club – has fallen on hard times.
"We've had a turnover of members," said Jeanne Fancher, Pacific resident and club secretary and treasurer.
"Like any organization or group, people have life events. And it seemed like every year has brought challenges and barriers to being a member of the club," she said. "It just kind of happened that we ended up with low membership."
The group has only two members, with three more expected to join soon. But Fancher said it's not enough to effectively help out in the community, the core reason for the club's existence.
"When membership gets below 10 members, it's really hard to be effective," Fancher said.
The situation became so dire that the club considered folding, Fancher said.
The group, however, has decided to use the upcoming National Make A Difference Day on Oct. 26 to announce its plans to soldier on.
"We're in rebuilding status," Fancher said. "Our membership dues are paid up until December. We're in good standing, so it's kind of a rebuilding kickoff."
The group – along with volunteers from Lions District 19 – will start Make A Difference Day sprucing up the Terry Home rain garden. The group plans to meet at 8:45 a.m. at the Pacific Senior Center, then move on to Terry Home for the first-half of the day.
"In the afternoon, we're going to chip in and help with any projects people need," Fancher said.
The group plans to fan out after lunch to help any resident of Algona and Pacific who is unable to do simple household chores.
"There are lots of people in Algona and Pacific who might need those types of things done," she said.
"The Lions' motto is 'We Serve,'" Fancher continued. "If we can raise our awareness and let people know who we are and what we do, maybe some of them will want to help. The Lions want to show there is some kind of spirit."
For more information, visit www.lionsclub.org.
Volunteers interested in helping out on Make A Difference Day, can email firstname.lastname@example.org, send a text to 253-653-1100 or just show up at the Oct. 26 meeting at the Pacific Senior Center, 100 3rd Ave. SW.