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Yarmouth Lions Finish 2017 with a FLOURISH of Service

Lions December Programs Raised Over $19,000 for Local Heating Assistance Service, Student Scholarships, and Families in Need

For 30-plus members of the Yarmouth, Maine Lions Club, December is the busiest months on the club calendar featuring several service activities, raising funds for local community support, and bringing joy to countless children in the area.

Yarmouth HS Guidance Counselor and program coordinator, Brenda Michaelsen with Yarmouth Lions ClubStarting Thanksgiving weekend with the arrival of 350 Maine-grown balsam fir trees, club members unload and sort trees according to size for sale with all proceeds going to scholarship for area students. In the 20-plus years of selling trees for scholarships, over $80,000 has been awarded. Students are selected based on school recommendations which are, in turn, based on need, academics and extra-curricular activities. The program is well advertised and this year, as in most years, every tree sold out in the first three weekends of December raising over $6,700 in scholarship funds. Lions, as well as some family members, set up and took down tree stands, sold and as necessary, delivered trees. Click to learn more about the Trees for Tuition program.

More recently the club began to sell wreaths alongside the trees with the distinction that wreath sales are used exclusively to benefit the town’s fuel fund for those needing assistance. The Wreaths for Fuel program, under the sponsorship of Yarmouth Community Services, has become increasingly necessary as Maine has recently seen harsher winters, higher fuel prices and more people needing fuel. In December 2017, club members sold 115 wreaths netting over $2,000 to support Yarmouth’s fuel assistance fund bringing total club donations over a 10-year period to about $20,000.

Yarmouth Lions Sell Christmas wreaths to fund the heating assistance programWhile wreaths and trees are being sold at the village green, another tradition almost as old as the club itself, takes place each December in the same area. For two hours on Saturday afternoons, Santa Claus ably assisted by an elf or Mrs. Claus sits in Santa’s Chalet greeting an endless line of families who pose with their children for photos. Before the children leave Santa, cookies and goodwill go with them. In the 30-plus years of this activity, veteran club members estimate that over 6,000 children have chatted with Santa in his chalet which magically appears on the village green the first weekend in December. The structure currently serving as Santa’s greeting house was built and maintained by club members while cookies are provided at cost by a local bakery.

Yarmouth Lions Adopt a Family ProgramProbably, the centerpiece of Yarmouth Lion’s December activities, is the club’s Adopt-a-Family program which began 16 years ago and gains momentum with each passing year. In the Lion’s tradition of service, a few members of the club initially received names from Yarmouth Community Services of a small number of families who were experiencing financial difficulties. The club budgeted a modest amount of monies and members donated out-of-pocket to meet the program’s needs. As the need for assistance increased, so did the club’s support and involvement. In 2017, 14 local businesses donated over $2,000 in gift certificates. The club also budgeted $1,000 to the program. This year, several enthusiastic and generous members shopped, wrapped and delivered gifts to the families and nursing homes. In total, a record number of families (12) with a record of children (26), as well as 22 indigent residents of local nursing homes, received over $7,500, in gifts and gift cards. Cumulatively, thanks to Lions and friends, over $75,000 in merchandise and gift certificates have been donated in just the past 10 years.

Although it would be difficult to single out the reason(s) for the success of Yarmouth Lions December efforts, strong publicity through the local paper, signs and word of mouth indicating where the proceeds from these activities were going, have led to continued success and steady membership in the club.

“Seeing people and merchants open their hearts and wallets to help those less fortunate, the willingness of volunteers to do what they do, and seeing the benefits of their efforts, make me proud to be a Lion.” – Sandy Bowie, President, Yarmouth Lions Club

Yarmouth Lions sell Christmas Trees for scholarships and host Santa
Each December, the Yarmouth Lions Club sells Christmas trees to raise money for scholarships, and wreaths for heating assistance, while hosting Santa for the hundreds of Yarmouth kids to visit and share their Christmas wish.

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Lions Club Honors YHS Seniors

Students reflect Lions motto of “We Serve”
The Notes – May 24, 2016

At the May 2nd meeting of the Lions Club, the Lions Club honored two High School seniors, Katie Glenn and Ethan Peters, for their outstanding contributions to community service during their four years at Yarmouth High School.

Katie Glenn, Colin O’Neill, and Ethan Peters

Colin O’Neill, a Lions Club member, gave the club some background on our tradition of providing high school seniors with community service awards, and then he then introduced this year’s honorees.

Katie Glenn spoke to the club about her early interest in helping others. She told us that her 1st volunteer job was handing out programs at a concert at Royal River Park when she was just 11 years old. A contingent of Bay Square residents were in attendance at the concert, which then led to volunteer stints at Bay Square. She has also participated in the “Buddy” program which pairs up high school students with middle school students. She plans to attend University of Maine at Farmington to become a teacher.

Ethan Peters has had two main community service interests – his membership in the Boy Scouts and as a member of the Yarmouth Fire Rescue. Scouting has provided him with many opportunities. He has helped with projects at the Yarmouth Food Pantry, and he has assisted on various Eagle Scout projects. Ethan’s Eagle Scout project was to build a fire pit on Cousins Island at Camp Sosi.  He has also been a part of the Junior Firefighter program and participates in weekly training sessions. Bill Goddard, Deputy Fire Chief and a Lions Club member, stood to thank Ethan for his service to the Fire Department. Ethan will be attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute majoring in Civil Engineering.

The Lions Club is always honored to recognize students who have devoted many hours above what is required in support of their interests and who have embraced serving others in our community. It reinforces our motto, “We Serve.”

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Yarmouth Community Center Initiative

Plans are in place to establish a space for the Yarmouth Community Center
The Notes – May 10, 2016

The April 18th meeting of the Yarmouth Lions Club was held at the Muddy Rudder. Our speakers for the evening were Horace Horton, chair of the Yarmouth Community Center (YCC) initiative, and Beth Costello, Vice-President of Yarmouth Care About Neighbors (YCAN), its sponsoring organization.

Horace Horton and Beth Costello

Horace provided a brief review of how the YCC initiative came to be. Last spring, at a community wide meeting at the Merrill Memorial Library, there was a consensus that Yarmouth needed a community center. The recently completed Yarmouth Aging In Place survey also confirmed this as a priority. Finally, Horace’s wife, Barbara, who works at the Yarmouth Community Food Pantry, kept telling him that they needed more space. The Hortons came to YCAN earlier this year with a proposal, which was subsequently approved by their Board of Directors. Committees were formed, and an effort is now underway to consult with all nonprofit groups about what is needed in such a center. Horace emphasized that they are not asking for funding at this time, just collecting information.

He then turned the microphone over to Beth Costello who talked about what ideas have been put forth so far. She envisions the center as one place to go to meet many needs, much like the Freeport Community Center. Some of the ideas are the relocation of the food pantry, a thrift store, Yarmouth Community Services office, a Senior Center, a kitchen for community meals, a general assistance office (now currently in Freeport), a gathering place for coffee and conversation, a medical equipment loan closet, and an office for Southern Maine Agency on Aging programs, like tax assistance and healthy living. The YCC would not be just for seniors, but also include programs and services for all ages. An important component would be one phone number with a central referral service.

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2016 Yarmouth Lions Eyeglasses Program is a Success

Yarmouth Lions say thanks for the many eyeglasses donated
The Notes – February 2, 2016

The Yarmouth Lions Club wishes to thank the many people who have donated their used eyeglasses, lenses, and eyeglass cases to the National Lions Eyeglasses Recycling Project.  Gardner Hall, a Lion since 2001, has been faithfully shepherding our Yarmouth project since July, 2003, and recently he turned over the project to Doug Carney. Under Gardiner’s watch, he has collected an amazing 10,315 eyeglasses, which were then processed by the regional Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center and distributed to needy people in developing countries where they have had the greatest impact.  Thank you, Gardiner, for 13 years of selfless service to this important Lions project!

Gardiner Hall

A special thank you also to the four Yarmouth businesses below that currently host the eyeglass collection boxes:

  • Hannaford Supermarket, 756 US Route 1, Yarmouth – pharmacy waiting area
  • Bayview Dental Associates, 247 Portland Street, Yarmouth – front entrance
  • Maine Optometry PA, 781 US Route 1, Yarmouth – reception area
  • Yarmouth Transfer & Recycling Center, 659 E. Main Street, Yarmouth – book shed

The Lions would greatly appreciate your continued participation and support in this very worthy cause.  For more information, visit our Vision Program page or contact Doug Carney at 846-0863.

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