The months of March through June usually mark one of the busiest times of the year for the Lewisboro Lions Club. However, this year, the club was forced to get creative with their initiatives to help the community.
The club’s annual roadside cleanup was scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, but LVAC, Vista Fire Department, Lewisboro Police Department and Town Emergency Management advised the Lions Club to cancel the cleanup. Mr. Phillips said many residents expressed interest in the event, but it has been canceled with the hope of rescheduling.
On March 21, the Lions Club held a food drive outside of Green Way Markets in Cross River. David Phillips, the president of the Lewisboro Lions Club, said that they were able to collect over 300 pounds of food for the Community Center of Northern Westchester.
Mr. Phillips was unsure how successful the event would be since the coronavirus outbreak was growing at that time, but he was pleased by the outcome. He said he wants the club to hold another food drive in the near future, but was not sure when that will be possible.
In another effort to help the community, Tony Goncalves, a member of the Lions and the Lewisboro Town Board, ordered protective masks that they plan to distribute to local fire departments and Lewisboro Volunteer Ambulance Corps. Mr. Phillips said the masks were ordered several weeks ago, and once they are delivered, the club will work to distribute them to workers on the frontlines.
Additionally, Mr. Phillips said the club’s district governor is working with Lions Clubs International to arrange for additional funding to purchase other types of vital protective equipment for local emergency workers.
Mr. Phillips said the Lions reached out to three fire departments in Lewisboro as well as LVAC, requesting lists of needed gear and equipment. Each responded with a list of 10 to 12 priority items.
Mr. Phillips said he is waiting for a response from the international chapter. He added that the district governor was worried that due to the high volume of equipment needed, it may be hard to secure those necessities requested by each department. Instead, local clubs like Lewisboro’s are entertaining the idea of creating an equipment-sharing program between departments.
There are a total of 33 clubs in the district that includes Lewisboro, but Mr. Phillips is hopeful the local club will be successful in its request for additional aid. “We’ll do what we can for our local folks,” he said.
Lewisboro Lions also has been supporting local small businesses. Mr. Phillips said since the club has suspended its monthly members dinner meeting at the Horse & Hound in South Salem, it purchased a number of dinners in advance for future meetings. “We know we’ll be going back there, but the idea was to give them an infusion of cash to help them out a little bit,” Mr. Phillips said.
Also on hold are other events that usually take place in June and July. These include the annual dinner for senior citizens in the Town Park and providing food at the town’s July Fourth fireworks. “It’s all up in the air right now,” he said.
Many organizations have taken a financial hit from the pandemic, but Mr. Phillips said the Lions Club finances are solid. Still, Mr. Phillips is concerned that it could feel the impact of postponing a fundraising event normally held in mid-May, and even possibly another fundraising event scheduled for September. Mr. Phillips doesn’t currently see how the club can hold these events that bring people together.
Mr. Phillips added that the club is still able to award two scholarships to John Jay High School seniors when they graduate at the end of the school year. He is unsure whether the scholarship ceremony can take place.
Mr. Phillips said it is frustrating to be held back from so many activities this time of year, which is among the busiest for Lions Club members. He said the club will continue to be in touch with LVAC, local fire departments and businesses to see how members can help.
“We’re always looking for other opportunities to either help small businesses or try to get people involved in something,” Mr. Phillips said.
Mr. Phillips asked community members to contact him for any information or questions about the Lions Club. “Our club is here and we’re viable and we’re always looking to help out,” Mr. Phillips said. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org