We Serve. That is the Lions motto. Sounds simple, right? In reality, though, it is not, but it is necessary.
The Eynon-Archbald Lions Club is a community organization with more than 75 members serving the local communities. Under the guidance and leadership of Fran Stepkovitch and Karen Spataro, the Lions club works diligently to honor their motto of “We Serve’’ by participating, organizing and creating events that benefit the community.
The Lions Club was established because, after World War I, industrialization and new social issues prompted a man named Melvin Jones to seek other businessmen and business clubs to meet and help their communities overcome the problems created by the war. This happened in 1917 in Chicago.
Three years later, 1920, Lions International was established as Canadian businesses established their Lions clubs. Five years later, Helen Keller addresses the international convention challenging the Lions to become the “knights of the blind” and that begins the Lions journey to be the light in the darkness of the blind. Lions have since impacted hundreds of millions of lives through vision related work.
The Eynon-Archbald Lions Club has chosen Leader Dogs for the Blind as their program addressing the visually impaired to support over the years.
Leader Dogs trains their dogs to support, guide and assist the visually impaired. The training, dog and support services are free to the client due to the support they receive from the Lion’s clubs.
We saw the success of this in our own community when a young lady needed a guide dog. She fulfilled the criteria required and went for training. She received her guide dog, changing her life by allowing her independence and a sense of freedom giving her the ability to lead a relatively normal life. It’s such a wonderful gift to be a part of giving to someone. And that is just one of the many endeavors undertaken by the Eynon-Archbald Lions Club.
Our club works very hard to look at all aspects of our community. Where there is need, we find a way to try and meet the challenge and make a difference. That difference is what betters our entire community and may hopefully inspire others to step up and also make a difference. Some of our fundraisers are needed so we can raise money that will permit us to help members of our community who may need a hand up. We participate in local events like the St. Patrick’s Parade in Scranton where we decorate a float celebrating the holiday. We also march alongside our local VFW friends to honor our veterans on Memorial Day.
It doesn’t stop there. In the spring and fall, you might see people in yellow or blue shirts walking along Kennedy Drive or Betty Street picking up litter. Those are Eynon-Archbald Lions, helping to keep our community clean. Also at this time of year, we have a Trivia Challenge to help raise funds for our club and for Leader Dogs. At Easter, we sponsor an Easter basket drive by and an Easter bonnet contest for our local community children with candy, prizes and, of course, the Easter Bunny.
Also in the spring, we have a Spring Fling to celebrate and honor our local children with mental or physical impairments. It is a wonderful event for these special children who do not often get the opportunity to be together and dance, socialize and just have fun. The event is free for the children and their parents.
The fall brings another round of events for our community. The Harvest Fest is where families can come and play games, learn about our firemen and police, hear good music, have some food and drink and receive free books to take home to encourage reading. It is a wonderful family day, again, funded by the Eynon-Archbald Lions Club.
Following the Harvest Fest is a craft fair at the AC Field with a wonderful variety of vendors, food, a bake sale and just a fun shopping experience for all attendees. It really gives you a jump on Christmas shopping and the crafters are so very talented. Then, here we are at Halloween, where we have a candy drive by for the children in our community. This is fun for the kids and keeps them safe and well candied. It’s all free from the Eynon-Archbald Lions Club.
Thanksgiving is a celebration of a good harvest, family time together, but to some, it is a lonely time with none of the turkey and trimmings — that is until the Eynon-Archbald Lions Club steps in to deliver 375 Thanksgiving dinners to those in our community who are in need or homebound. All food is prepared fresh and funded by the club. Our members peel potatoes, carve turkeys, wrap desserts and deliver these meals on Thanksgiving. Where there is a need, our Lions are there.
In December we gather to deliver Christmas stockings filled with gifts for the residents at the Mid Valley Manor. We sometimes are able to wander the halls singing Christmas carols and visiting with the residents. They enjoy the visits and we love seeing the difference it makes in the lives of our elderly community members. I am not sure who has more fun, the residents or the Lions.
Every year is a work in progress. New ideas, new projects, new needs in our community give us direction and purpose.
We take our motto seriously and try to help better our community and make a difference — not just for a moment, but for the future. We can all help on some level and even the smallest act can change a life.
Kathy Pezak has been a member of the Eynon-Archbald Lions Club since 2013. She lives in Archbald with her husband, Joe and their two frisky boxers. For more information and how to get involved, contact Fran Stepkovitch at 570-470-7838 or Karen Spataro at 570-877-4845.