Saturday, November 30, 2013

Packing Party

It seems like forever since our collection drive on the 16th.  Since then, a lot has happened. 
 
More donations have been dropped off....
All the donations have been cleaned, sorted, categorized, organized....
Reorganized....
And organized some more....
 
Which brings us to today.
Our Packing Party. 
Where a few of us got together to fill backpacks with donations so generously given by the Juneau community.
Backpacks.
Coloring Books.
Stuffed Animals.
Hair Brushes and combs. 
Lions Tommy, Becky, Joe; Jill; Lion Mike N. and Ellis in front.
 It took us just about 2 hours to individually select items to go into 98 backpacks.
Items carefully picked with love.
 
A pile of 98 backpacks!
A few of us will deliver the backpacks on Tuesday, December 3. 
Then we'll start all over again in about 10 months!  


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

More Donations

And the community just keeps giving and giving and giving....  Here's the latest donations:

stuffed animals:  60
hair brush:  11
puzzles:  4
pencils:  4 packs
colored pencils:  3
watercolors/paint:  4
crayons:  3
markers:  5
glue sticks:  6
erasers: 
rulers:  2
note cards:  2
toothbrush:  4
toothpaste:  3
notebooks/notepads: 7
shampoo:  12
conditioner:  7
hand lotion:  19
soap/body wash:  24
lip gloss:  15
deodorant:  3
mouthwash:  2

I hope you all join us for our Packing Party on Saturday, 1:00 p.m. at the Nortons! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Lions Packs Hits Backpack Goal

The Juneau Empire.... the gift that keeps giving.... 

Saw this follow up in today's paper.  I have to say, when Katie called to see how it went, I didn't know she was going to write a story....  Me, na├»ve?  Nahhhh!  And there are a couple mis-statements, but I still appreciate her effort.   

Lions Club hits backpack goal

Posted: November 25, 2013 - 12:01am

The Flying Lions club collected 100 backpacks to donate during the fist year of its Lions Pack collection drive, where the group delivers backpacks filled with items to children living in foster homes.   Photo courtesy of Juneau Mendenhall Flying Lions
Photo courtesy of Juneau Mendenhall Flying Lions
The Flying Lions club collected 100 backpacks to donate during the fist year of its Lions Pack collection drive, where the group delivers backpacks filled with items to children living in foster homes.

By KATIE MORITZ  
The number of foster children in Juneau? About 95. The number of backpacks for foster children the Juneau Mendenhall Flying Lions Club collected during its drive Nov. 16?  98.

The club met its goal of providing every child in the foster care system in Juneau with a backpack filled with goodies and necessities before the holidays, event organizer and Flying Lions Club member Nancy Norton said. This was the organization’s first Lions Packs drive.  “You have this fear of is it going to be enough or is it going to be way too much,” Norton said. “We got just shy of 100 backpacks, so every child will get one.”

Besides the perfect number of backpacks, the organization also received gloves, hats, socks, books, 300 tubes of toothpaste and almost 600 stuffed animals, Norton said.
Volunteers from Juneau’s Lions Clubs sorted through the donations and the packs will be delivered to the Office of Children’s Services on Dec. 3.

“Juneau is just a great, giving community,” Norton said. “It was just a perfect day.”

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Giving Thanks

As the holidays reach out to us, some times it's easy to get caught up in all the fuss of the holidays and forget to find the value in the moment.  Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE the fuss!  I love it all! The Christmas movies that have been playing on tv for weeks now.... Christmas decorations in the store.... and you'll even find me humming Christmas carols.

But this weekend brought a different dimension to the holidays as a couple of us helped at the Southeast Alaska Food Bank during their annual 12 hour Sharing is Caring Food Drive.  Because of the generosity of Juneau, the Food Bank received over 14,000 pounds in donations.  It didn't matter if all a person could afford was one can of soup because in the end it all added up and meant others in our town would have food on their table over the holidays. 

Yesterday people showed up at the Food Bank to help unload the school bus that held all the donations.  What impressed me most were all the children.  Kids of all ages--young ones with their parents, pre-teens, and teenagers working side by side making a difference.  They weren't there because their parents made them, they were there because they wanted to help.  You could see it in their actions and their joy. 

Today I am thankful for Darin and his helpers Shane, Judy, and the others as they selflessly give their time all year long, so that our families, friends, and neighbors can have food on their tables. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lions Packs Donations

Drum roll, please.....
We're not exactly certain what to expect as far as how many children will need backpacks in the next year, let alone what age group or gender.  (Remember back to my last post where I gave the seven different categories.)  Our best guess will be less than 100.  So we're going to plan for 100 backpacks a year. 
And because I know you're DYING to learn what donations we've received, wait no longer!  We got such a huge variety of donations, but these are the basics:

Backpacks:  98
Blankets (all ages):  26
Books:  over 100
Coloring Books:  39
Crayons and Markers:  48
Deodorant (boy and girl):  71
Shampoo:  299
Conditioner:  129
Floss (for teens and toddlers):  291
Gloves:  19
Hair Combs:  63
Hats:  12
Lotion:  1,200 plus
Bath Soap:  127
Razors (boys and girls):  205
Socks (all ages):  65
Stationary:  27
Stuffed Animals:  584
Toothbrush (teens and toddlers):  263
Toothpaste:  125
Toys/Cars:  41
Toys/Dolls:  9

Cash Donations:  $548 (plus a $400 check we've not received yet!)

Wow WOW WOW! 

Thank you!  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lions Packs Kick Off

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind....  It all started with a editorial in the Juneau Empire about the need for foster homes. 

Lots of Beany Babies!
And that's all it took.  From there we learned that often times children are taken into foster care with nothing but the clothes on their back or if they do have personal belongings, it's stuffed in a garbage bag.  No suitcase.  No backpack.  A garbage bag.... 

 
I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't think about foster care or the children affected, but I suspect that's because it hasn't involved me.  I didn't know anyone in foster care, I didn't know any foster care families.... but for some reason, this article spoke to me.  What IF it was one of my grandchildren being taken into foster care, carrying their belongings around in a black garbage bag.  As if they have no value?? 

Long story short, we contacted Office of Children Services and our Lions Packs project started to take shape--providing a backpack to each child who enters the Foster Care Program.   

Future Leos donating to our cause!
We had our kickoff today.... We asked the community of Juneau and Douglas to help us make this backpack project a success.  We asked for new or gently-used backpacks, small toys, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, stuffed animals, blankies, etc.  We asked for items of necessity AND comfort, to help these children through the first 12/24 hours of this traumatic time of their lives. 

One of many piles we accumulated!
Because one backpack can't fit all age groups and gender.... we decided to have seven different categories:
     birth to 2 years (generic)
     3 years to 6 years (boy and girl)
     7 years to 11 years (boy and girl)
     12 years to 18 years (boy and girl)

This process has been quite the ride!  Caring people came out of the woodwork to donate.  Our local paper, the Juneau Empire, embraced this project and gave us incredible coverage; the Capital City Weekly "squished" our article in with only one day's notice.   Our granddaughter went through her stuffed animals to donate.  Other grandchildren chose our fundraiser over another traditional charity.  Family shipped items up from down south.  Neighbors went out of their way to get donations. One couple donated their collection of 75 Boyd Bears and another her Beany Baby collection.  Local dentists have pledged to keep us in toothbrushes and toothpaste.  The Moose Lodge will supply us with Tommy the Moose stuffed animal. The Nugget Mall made adjustments in an arts and crafts fair to accommodate our project.  And the list goes on.    

Lions Becky, Mike N. and Tommy filled carts.
The community REALLY cared about this project! 
I know you're wondering.... was it a success?  Absolutely!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

One of our Supporters

We have grandchildren that have attended pre-school.  Hunter, was, I'm sure, the highlight of their teaching career with his generosity in spirit, joy, AND hugs!  And now, Avery, the little Diva. 

The director at Glacier Baptist Academy has always been supportive of the Mendenhall Flying Lions vision screening efforts and EVEN put a blurb in the Parent's Handbook that vision screening is provided by the Lions Club and asks parents to support us. 

Now this:  
From: "L. Marshall"
Date: November 12, 2013 at 11:49:07 AM AKST
To:
Subject: Lions Club
Hi parents ... here is a chance to help the Lions Club (remember they volunteered to give vision screening to the children).  Please look at the poster on the bulletin board in the main entry ... they are looking for new or gently used backpacks and things to put in the backpacks for distribution to foster children in Juneau.  Other things they are asking for are a small toy, stuffed animal, a "blankie", toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, coloring books and crayons.  Collection is Saturday Nov. 16 from 10 to 2 at the Nugget Mall. 
She's always supportive and is one of our biggest cheerleaders!  We couldn't do what WE do.... if it wasn't for people like Lorraine.  Thank YOU

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mid-Winter Recap

I just returned from Anchorage where I attended my first Mid-Winter Conference.  If I was to sum it up in one word, it would be "family."  It was like a huge family reunion.  People welcoming friends with hugs, stories, and laughter.  Little cliques forming in every nook and cranny.  Smiles everywhere.  Laughter and chatter.  Lions happy to meet up with old Lion friends.  Family.

The past two days were filled to capacity--with information, training, and gatherings. If you needed stimulation, you came to the right place!  If you needed to feel the love, you came to the right place. If you needed training, yep, you came to the right place. 

But, was it worthwhile?  Did I learn anything?  Would I recommend it to other Lions?  Absolutely! 

And this is why:  Any time you bring mass people together with different backgrounds and experience--you will always find value.  Plain and simple.  True, there will always be that instructor that shouldn't be instructing, or the class that puts you to sleep... ho hum...., but if you're engaged, if you're there to learn and get something out of the event, you'll find value.  You'll sift through the good and the bad to find it. 

Here's some of what I brought home:
  • I learned there's 1,523 Lion members in District 49A.  That's a lot of Lion experience to pull from!
  • I learned that I don't know what the Quest program is, was intrigued with the Twinning program, and need to become more comfortable with the LCIF Foundation and the Melvin Jones Fellowship, which means they will be a future post in The Flying Lion!
  • I didn't realize that we have such an incredible community of Leos in Alaska who are really making a difference.  I'm in awe of them. 
  • Some new projects we could consider are collecting ink jets and collecting books to send to Tonga. 
  • Classes: I heard many people question what the different classes were about.  Maybe adding a brief description would help the new Lions pick the right class for them.  
  • I really enjoyed listening to ID Stephen Glass.  He had so much to share but that's another post. 
  • I learned several things in the Fundraising class.  Mostly, be sure you always have a clear goal in mind--is your fundraiser to make LOTS of money or is the intent to make money, but mostly to find new members? People tend to give for the following reasons: when they have empathy with the cause; they have a connection (through a co-worker, friend, or personal experience with the cause); ability to give (time and money); it makes them feel good. 
  • I attended the Generations class and we learned about the GI Generation, the Silent Generation, the Baby Boomers and Generation XY and Z.  But I'm left wondering.... what comes next?  Generation A????  We were encouraged to recruit more Baby Boomers because we love to volunteer! 
I may have felt a little lost at times during the conference.... Being a new Lion, I don't have a lot of connections and it didn't help that my husband was required to sit at a different table and for classes we split up and went different ways so we could bring more value home.  But it was great putting faces to names I've seen over the last five years helping Lion Mike, as well as bonding with members from our local clubs.  And I may be glad to be back home to the peace and quiet.... But airline reservations are already made for MD Convention in April!

What did YOU bring home with you?  Will you share it with your members?  Please send me an email or leave a comment at the bottom of this post as I'd love to know! 

P.S.  We were thrilled that Immediate Past District Governor Esther West received not one but TWO prestigious awards!  Justly deserved! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Juneau Helping Hoonah

A few weeks ago, Lion Allen received an email from the Hoonah Chief of Police stating that the senior center's food shelves were bare and could he help. 

Lion Allen jumped right on it and got his Boy Scout Troop 247 involved.  We also enlisted the help of the Juneau Lions Club along with a girl scout troop.  On Tuesday, October 29, the Boy Scouts and Lion Mike N. participated in a Food Drive at Super Bear where they collected between 10-15 packing boxes full of donations. 

Meanwhile, he Juneau Lions Club did their own thing and went shopping and bought tons of food stuff.  I understand the Girl Scouts also collected food.

In the end.... they got TONS of stuff to ferry over to Hoonah!  I don't have any pictures to share, but it sounds like the Boy Scouts food drive was a complete success. 

This is people helping people.  Thanks to all who participated! 

Monday, November 4, 2013

More Pictures of the Barbeque

Thanks to Lion Becky, here's some more photos of our fundraiser on Saturday.  She takes great pictures!

Lions Mike and Neil.  What a beautiful day it was!

Smoking to perfection required lots of monitoring.

Lions Nancy, Mike A., and Tommy getting a meal together.

Lions Nancy and Mike A.

Lion Bob "on call" for when someone needed something.

Coffee break, I guess....

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Another Successful Barbeque and Auction

18th Annual Barbeque and Auction
 
Another fundraiser down.  Another barbeque and auction survived. Or should I say Lion Neil survived (maybe.... we've not heard from him yet today....!) as he does most of the work on this fundraiser.  This has been his baby for 18 years.  And he's done such a super job bringing it all together. 
Lion Neil staying warm.

Lion Mike N. getting ready to check the ribs.
Now, not to diminish all the help from other Lions that get involved and help out throughout this process because we couldn't pull this off without everyone's help and dedication.  But it is a process.  And would we be able to pull it off without Lion Neil at the helm....? 
Lions Becky and Mike A. behind the scenes serving.

Lion Tommy clowning around.
No words needed here.
This year, Lions Joe, Marilyn, Tommy, Mike N., and Neil along with help from Mark Z. (an ex-Lion), seasoned the ribs TO perfection.  We're talking absolutely perfect.  In order to start serving the ribs at noon the following day, Lions Neil and Mike N. started up the smoker at 5:30 a.m. and stood out in the freezing cold allllll day long monitoring them.  We're talking 32-36 degree weather. 
Lion Bob doing whatever
needs to be done
Once the ribs started coming out of the smoker, the people came.... they took racks of ribs home to enjoy.  (Side note:  We are taking TWO racks of ribs with us to Anchorage this week for Lions who wanted to participate in our fundraiser!)


Lion Becky, barely visible over the
counter!  Lion Donna helping serve.
By 5:00 p.m., we had nearly sold out of our 300 pounds of pork ribs!  I might add that the baked beans.... a secret family recipe of Lion Neils.... are not like your average Busch's baked beans.  Ask Neil for the recipe!  They are THAT good. 

This year we tried a Dessert Auction rather than the regular one with merchandise.  We had some exquisite desserts--some made by women who just love to bake for fundraisers and others from professional chefs and bakeries.  One of my favorite (and I promised myself I would bid on AND win!) were sugar cookies baked by the boyfriend of Lion Neil's daughter.  I had my eye on these the moment they arrived and I don't regret winning the bid. Sugar cookies drenched in swoops of strawberry and lemon frosting and then DIPPED in chocolate!  Yea, my glucose spiked!  But it was worth it.  :)
The sugar cookies I was determined
to score!
We had 30 some desserts--cinnamon rolls, homemade Sees fudge, pumpkin cheesecakes, organic cheesecake, apple pie, cake pops, sugar cookies, a trifle, bean pies (a cousin of the pumpkin pie), oatmeal butterscotch cookies, triple layer cake drenched in stout beer (I think it was), snicker cakes (to die for), cardamom coffee cakes, cheesecake with raspberry swirls (also to die for), plus cupcakes and push ups, and and and....  Our auction was short and sweet--about 45 to 60 minutes and we were done and out of there.  
Some of the incredible desserts.
So, was it a successful barbeque and auction this year with the change in venue?  There was tons of publicity (radio, newspaper, Facebook, word of mouth) and posters went up all around town.  Lion Neil did a great job auctioneering and getting desserts. Lions pulled together and did what needed to be done.  To me, it didn't seem the party environment as in past years.  But that's just my opinion.  The bidding wars were few, and what's an auction without some good bidding wars?!  It was  different bar owners this year, a different crowd.  Some "regulars" of the annual auction showed  up and supported us, so that was good.  All in all, it was a success because any money we made last night will go for a good cause, the American Diabetes Association.
A huge thanks to the following Lions who took time out of their weekend to help:  Tommy, Mike and Becky A., Bob and Donna H., Allen, Neil, Mike and Nancy N.  Without their help and support, this fundraiser wouldn't have been the success it was.  And a huge thanks to those people who donated desserts! Without their generosity.... well, there wouldn't have been an auction.  Unfortunately, I don't have all their names and because I don't want to slight any that I might miss, I'll leave it to that. 

Thanks to the goodness of others--Teddy's Tasty Meals out of Anchorage for donating 300 pounds of pork ribs to the American Diabetes Association (ADA); the ADA shipping them for free; Lions for their time and dedication; bakers for their love of baking; Food Service of America for the donated potato salad; the Juneau Empire for free advertising; KINY for getting us on the air; McGivney's Sports Bar and Grill for giving us a place to hold our event, the afternoon to take over their kitchen, and the use of their wait staff; for the patrons who showed up and spent their money.... Thank you....  Because of YOU, this was another successful event.