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Newest Lions Club seeking members to serve local needs

August 05, 2009
Community members from the Greater Franklin-Tilton area are being sought to join a new Lions Club that has been formed to serve the towns of Franklin, Tilton, Northfield, Sanbornton and Hill.

Phil Cain, president of the group, said that if they can raise their membership by 10 more people they will be able to become a charter of the Lions Clubs International organization.

"The Lions Club of Andover has been sponsoring us," Cain said, "and we'd really like to get this club going here. We'll be able to work on our main project, which is to help the food pantry here, as well as other needs in the area. The Lions do great things."

The bimonthly meetings are held at the Twin Rivers Food Pantry in Franklin. Cain said they often have speakers at their meetings to establish mutually beneficial relationships.

"(We've had) people like the mayor (of Franklin), police chiefs, fire chiefs - civic people who can help us find out what they want to see a club come in and do," he said.

Last Monday evening Jim Hamel, executive director of the Middle New Hampshire Arts and Entertainment Center, located at the historic Franklin Opera House, was on hand to explain what his organization offers and envisions for the community. They have also had speakers addressing needs of the elderly and other facets of life of the area. Cain said that in each community they hope to identify needs then develop a way to meet them through their volunteerism and fundraising efforts.

Forrest Powers, recently retired Lions Club District Governor of N.H. and a member of the Andover Lions, said his club began to see many requests for assistance from residents of Franklin and Tilton so they offered to help get one organized in the area. Lions Clubs, he explained, are comprised of individuals who want to serve their local community. Money from fundraisers stays right within the community.

"When you help an elderly lady get a hearing aid," he cited as an example, "and see the look on her face, see her tears, it gives you chills. Or when you are rapping on a door with an armload of Christmas gifts and hear a little boy say 'Mommy, we are going to have presents for Christmas,' it really means a lot."

As another project, Lions Clubs collect old eyeglasses that are refurbished and given to individuals who need them. They also accept donations of old cell phones, which are passed on to women's shelters or sent overseas for the troops.

Miami Shufelt of the Andover charter is excited to assist the new club in establishing their charter membership.

"All people need to do is show up," she said. "We always have yummy food. Come eat, listen to the speaker, see what we do and make a decision to join."

A one-time charter membership fee is $30 with household discounts given for more than one member residing at the same address. Dues are determined by each individual club but usually range somewhere around $6, Powers said.

Meetings are generally held on the first and third Monday of each month, with the next meeting scheduled for Sept. 1.

Local residents interested in joining are asked to stop by the Twin Rivers Food Pantry, next to Cumberland Farms in Franklin, at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 1, and experience the Lions Club. For more information, contact Phil Cain at 934-2662.

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