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Being of service remains paramount

Incoming president of the Woolwich Community Lions Club, Lynn McLaughlin, prepares for the club’s food parade on June 4. [Sean Heeger]

Normally the Woolwich Community Lions Club hosts events and projects throughout the year like their annual Christmas party, princess and superhero ball and a slew of others which delight the community, while helping to raise much needed funds for projects. This year, however, most of these things have been cancelled or may not have the chance to run thanks to restrictions brought on by the coronavirus.

To make up for this, the club hosted a food drive parade June 4. Their goal was not only to help those in need by donating to the Woolwich Community Services food bank, but also to inspire others in the community to help during this time of great uncertainty.

Starting at Lions Hall on South Street in Elmira, members of the Woolwich club turned out with cars packed full of food, toiletries, and other necessary items. They then started their procession towards Woolwich Community Services, heading through downtown Elmira hoping to attract attention to their efforts. The club always likes to support local organizations and they chose WCS to receive their donations because they saw the need right here in town to help those going through a rough time.

“We cannot survive without one another, without a community and it’s organizations like this. It’s very important these organizations exist, and we cannot exist without community support. Even when we’re not getting together it’s important to show support because through government organizations, we hear about things they can’t help with and we can,” said Lynn McLaughlin, incoming president with the Woolwich Community Lions Club.

Bigger events that the club normally hosts throughout the year are currently up in the air, however, McLaughlin said she hopes that things like the Christmas party and even their Halloween event with the firefighters can still go ahead if things continue to trend in the right direction with regards to COVID-19. In the meantime, smaller things like this can make a difference and the club is more than happy to take the time to brighten people’s day.

Because the group can’t plan Christmas parties and hold meetings, it’s just reacting to what the community needs. In that vein, the Lions heard the food bank was in need, so they said “here’s what we can do” and decided to gather some food, McLaughlin explained.

Right now, they do not have plans for anymore events or fundraiser ideas, but McLaughlin encourages people in the community who may have an idea to contact the club through their Facebook page and hopefully get the ball rolling.

“If you’ve got some ideas, we would love it. If we do see a need and you’d like us to put something on… we really have to put our heads together and try to think up what we can do,” said McLaughlin. “If the community has some ideas, we’d love to hear them.”

She encourages everyone in the community to help during this time, and asks if they have any ideas for fundraisers and events that should be run to contact them online.

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