Last updated: September 24. 2013 9:14AM - 2013 Views
Taylor Pardue Staff Reporter

Yadkinville Lions Club members gather at Yadkin Valley Seafood for their Sept. 3 meeting.
Yadkinville Lions Club members gather at Yadkin Valley Seafood for their Sept. 3 meeting.
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Yadkinville’s Lions Club had one of many booths set up this weekend at the annual Harvest Festival. Every year the club sets up near the Ripple office and sell brooms to raise money for the visually impaired and those with a complete loss of sight.

Lions Clubs International, as the parent organization is officially known, began in 1917. They became involved with Helen Keller and the visually impaired following her famous visit to the club’s convention and challenged them to be the “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.”

Yadkinville’s branch is tasked with that same mission.

“The Yadkinville Lions Club is a service club,” J.E. Brown of the club said. “It exists for the purpose of serving the vision impaired and the hearing impaired.”

The Yadkinville branch was once one of several in the county and surrounding area. There were 37 charter members who first formed the club in August 1950.

The primary goal of the group remains aiding those with needs in the community. In 2012 they spent $3,200 on glasses for those in need.

The group sells brooms made by the visually impaired in Greensboro’s Industries of the Blind.

The company hires visually impaired employees to manufacture brooms, among other items. Then the brooms are bought by Lions Clubs and sold at festivals and events to further their own services for the visually impaired.

The brooms are widely recognized in the area for their symbolism as much as for their quality.

Yadkinville Lions sold 300 brooms at last weekend’s Harvest Festival.

Lions perform free eye check ups for those who need them. In 2012 they provided 19 exams through matching funds with the state organization.

They also work with those who need crutches, walkers and wheelchairs.

In addition they work to help the visually impaired participate in state activities like the VIP Fishing Tournament for the Blind and the annual Blind and Deaf Retreat at the Lions’ Camp Dogwood.

Most civic organizations have seen their numbers drop in recent years. East Bend and Boonville saw their clubs close down as interest faded.

Not so with Yadkinville.

When other clubs began to lose participation Yadkinville picked up some of the remaining members and began serving the entire county. Today they see roughly 20 members each meeting with 26 to 28 on the books.

Still, the average age of members is on the high side of life.

“Like all of the well known and respected service clubs we are aging and graying,” Brown said. “Around the world we are making a concerted effort to recruit young men and women with fresh ideas and energy.”

New members are always welcome to join the club at any of its meetings.

The meetings are held twice a month on the first and third Tuesday at 6 p.m. Yadkin Valley Seafood in Yadkinville reserves a back room for the club to meet in, complete with a special menu and prices for the members and their guests.

Each meeting starts off with the ringing of the ceremonial bell for the call to order, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer.

Members sing a song together from club-provided song books prior to the main speaker presenting a different topic each month.

The club brings in a new speaker each meeting to share his or her work with the club.

Brown welcomed all those interested to join the club for a meeting and try it out.

“Come and join us as we serve,” Brown said.

For more information on the Yadkinville Lions Club look them up on Facebook or email them at looneylisa33@aol.com.

To contact Taylor Pardue call 336-835-1513 ext. 15, or email him at tpardue@civitasmedia.com.

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