West TN District 12 Lions received a $10,000 grant from Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) to provide disaster relief for those injured and/or displaced by the tornadoes that swept through the northern part of West Tennessee during the night of December 10, 2021. Primarily, the hardest hit areas in Tennessee that Lions Club members were able to service were the communities of Dresden, Kenton, and Paris. Individual clubs and the District provided additional funds that allowed the relief to exceed $11,700. The grant was used to provide food, clothing and cleaning supplies. Grants were also given to other parts of Tennessee, as well as Kentucky.
“The devastation was so heartbreaking. I am very proud to serve as a Lion and to have this opportunity to coordinate this relief effort in West Tennessee,” said Lions Club District Governor Linda Overstreet.
Overstreet, along with 1st Vice Governor Mark Cantara dropped off donations to Be the Village on Evergreen Street in Dresden. The morning after the tornado, Sandra Taylor found a location, donated by Paul Chandler and Delbert Rainey, to set up a donation center for families affected by the tornado in Dresden. There were 187 families impacted and Be the Village has assisted all of them with anything such as clothing, cleaning supplies, food, linens and basic needs. Through the Lions Club donations amounting to $6,630 for Dresden families, new linens, groceries and undergarments were available to help those in need. Be the Village is still accepting donations of items and offering items to affected families. Volunteers are also welcome at the donation site on Evergreen Street.
LCIF provides grants to provide sight and hearing services, feed the hungry, promote diabetes awareness and treatment, donate to cancer centers, and assist in disaster relief. Lions also offer special projects that help their communities such as senior citizen care, children’s programs, student scholarships, veteran services, and many more.
LCIF also offers matching grants for all-inclusive playgrounds, mobile health units, eye clinics, major medical equipment, auditory systems, fully accessible sports fields and more.
In 2020, LCIF provided a $10,000 grant to West Tennessee for the purchase of personal protective equipment, during the height of the pandemic for volunteer EMTs as many cities were running out of funds to purchase what was needed for their full-time workers. LCIF has provided many grants all over TN and the world.
The local Lions Clubs participate in the projects listed above but are autonomous in that they do what is needed in their individual communities. There are 36 Lions Clubs in West Tennessee with almost 700 members. Lions Clubs are always needing help and would welcome the opportunity for those who wish to volunteer to make a difference and serve their communities. Their motto is “We Serve.”