Fellowship, fun, and service have been liberally woven into the history of the Cedar Falls Lions Club. Service has always received heavy emphasis throughout the history of the club as evidenced by the thousands of dollars contributed to sight and hearing conservation projects at local, state, national, and international levels.
During the club's early years of existence, emphasis was placed on sponsoring events for underprivileged children in the city. A variety of fund-raising ventures ranging from a turkey dinner to raffles and bingo parties were held to finance these service activities.
In more recent years, the club's scope of humanitarian assistance has broadened into many areas of service. A tabulation of these contributions shows that the Cedar Falls Lions Club has donated $150,000 to worthy causes over the past ten years, plus a special Sight First contribution of $15,000.
Over the past 90 years our club has returned over $400,000 to a variety of causes. Four highly successful projects have been sponsored annually by the Club. These projects are the backbone of this financial benevolence. They are the Pancake Day which was first held in 1954, the Light Bulb Sale that was initially started in 1955, participating in sponsoring the Gus Macker basketball tournament starting in 1995, plus the Sturgis Falls Pancake Breakfast that was initiated in 1976. In recent years the collection and recycling of used eyeglasses has proven to be a profitable source of charitable income.
Following are some current examples of the Club's dedication to humanitarian and community service: Annual Contribution for cornea transplants to the Iowa Lions Sight Conservation Foundation ($2500 per year). Awarding of an annual scholarship to University of Northern Iowa students. Financial support of the "Youth for Understanding" student exchange program. Sponsorship of the Lions Junior Baseball League for the city of Cedar Falls. Sponsored Quest Programs in Cedar Falls Schools. Purchase of eyeglasses for needy children in the community. Special donations to community improvement projects such as the UNI-Dome, UNI Strayer Wood Theater, the Woman's Club House renovation, hospital, library improvements, recreation building, Regent Theater building and the North Shore Boat House.
Below is a list of activities and causes which received some of the $10,000 we distributed last year.
1. Help fund a handicapped accessible bathroom for a diabetic
2. The Lions Club youth camp
3. The Lions Club Diabetes Fund
4. The Lions Club Leader Dog Fund
5. The Cedar Falls Recreation Department to help fund Lions Baseball and Junior League Baseball
6. The UNI Athletic Department
7. Blackhawk County Girl Scouts
8. Youth for Understanding
9. UNI theater program
10. Cedar Valley Hospice
11. Iowa Lions Foundation, which funds a number of sight and hearing related activities as well as many other projects
12. Forest City Lions Club fund raiser
13. Scholarships for UNI students
14. Provide eyecare and glasses for the needy.
In addition, the Board of Directors has recently approved funding for a shelter house on the Cedar Valley Bike Trail, a contribution to the new Veteran's Memorial Park, and a contribution to the Regent Theater.
It's easy to overlook all of the good things that your Lions Club does, especially when our tails are getting twisted at the weekly meetings. However, all of the work that we do fund-raising pays dividends in community support. We can be justifiably proud of the service we provide. The Lions' motto, "We Serve" is taken seriously by our club.
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