The Sandpoint Lions Club spreads holiday cheer through Toys For Tots By Damen Rodriguez Right here in Sandpoint, a group of dedicated individuals has been quietly working behind the scenes to create a better, brighter future for their community. This dedicated team is none other than the Sandpoint Lions Club, a symbol of benevolence, generosity, and a touch of that classic Idaho spirit.
Since its inception seven decades ago, the Sandpoint Lions Club has been on a mission to serve, uplift and support the remarkable community it calls home. The brainchild of several local businessmen, the club was born from a shared desire to give back. Janice Rader, the current club president, reflects on its origins, saying, "The Sandpoint Lions Club began in 1953. Several local businessmen began the club to provide support for our amazing community. We are currently moving forward with technology and bringing our programs into a more modern format."
But what exactly is the Sandpoint Lions Club all about? To answer this question, we delved deep into its heart and soul, unraveling its myriad initiatives that encompass love and compassion. The Sandpoint Lions Club orchestrates a symphony of good deeds that resonate throughout the year. Their Sight and Hearing program ensures that low-income members of the community receive the gift of clear vision and the beauty of sound through eyeglasses and hearing aids. They also play an active role in diabetes awareness by sponsoring children to attend Camp Stix. When the Fourth of July rolls around, Sandpoint comes alive with the Lions Club's annual parade in the morning and a dazzling display of fireworks at City Beach in the evening. They provide an Easter egg hunt like no other, where children eagerly hunt for candy-filled eggs, and lucky winners ride away on shiny new bicycles. Education holds a special place in their hearts as well, as they offer scholarships to local high school students pursuing further education, including certificate programs. Halloween turns into a delightful family affair with their annual event featuring trick-or-treating and family fun for all ages.
Undoubtedly, it's during the holiday season that the Sandpoint Lions Club truly shines. Their Toys for Tots program is a beacon of hope for families in need, providing toys and gift certificates to make the holidays a little brighter. The past couple of years have presented unique challenges, particularly with the ongoing pandemic. However, the Sandpoint Lions Club has shown remarkable resilience and adaptability. "We have been changing our programs as needed to help protect our community," explains Janice.
They've adapted their Toys for Tots program to prioritize the safety of volunteers and the well-being of families in need. By scheduling appointments, they've found a way to ensure that the joy of the holiday season reaches every corner of Sandpoint.
And speaking of Toys for Tots, this annual campaign holds a special place in the hearts of the Lions Club and the Sandpoint community as a whole. This year's campaign is no exception, with lofty goals to provide assistance throughout the often-stressful holiday season. And here's where you come in! The Sandpoint Lions Club is hosting a family Bingo night every month on the third Friday to support their programs. So, why not come on down, try your luck, and win some fun prizes while helping to support Toys for Tots? It's a win-win!
When asked about heartwarming stories related to the Toys for Tots campaign, Janice shared a touching tale from the club's early days. Back then, volunteers established a "Santa's Workshop" where they lovingly repaired and refurbished old and broken toys. These dedicated individuals poured their time and effort into bringing these toys back to life, knowing that each one would bring joy to a child's heart. The dedication and determination of these volunteers, she said, "warms my heart! Knowing that those toys were rebuilt in order to be loved is a noble hobby. It is also the heart of recycling itself."
The Sandpoint Lions Club cannot achieve its mission alone. They rely on the support of individuals and businesses in the community. They welcome donations of new toys, items for their Bingo games, and financial contributions at various local banks throughout the year. At the heart of the Sandpoint Lions Club's endeavors are its volunteers, tirelessly brainstorming ideas and creating meaningful change. Janice encourages anyone interested to join them on the second and fourth Monday of each month at 6pm at the Lions Den to witness the magic firsthand.
As Janice reflects, "The Sandpoint Lions Club has survived the last few years by listening to the volunteers and changing our path when necessary. We focus on what works, change what needs to be changed, and try to implement new ideas when needed."
The club's commitment to evolving while staying true to its core mission is its secret to lasting impact. Looking ahead, the Sandpoint Lions Club envisions a future where they continue to grow alongside their members and remain attuned to the ever-changing needs of their community. With unwavering dedication and a heart full of hope, the Sandpoint Lions Club is poised to be the guardian angel that our community needs in times of joy and sorrow. In the warm embrace of this community, the Sandpoint Lions Club stands as a testament to the power of collective goodwill and a reminder that sometimes even the tiniest roar can make the world a better place.