Lions Club needs members, donations to survive

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By Corey Woolsey

The Mount Vernon Lions Club has a long standing tradition of service to the community.

But that service provided by the club is in jeopardy, with the club in need of not only more donations, but a new influx of members.

One issue with membership, according to past president Ken Rudibaugh, is that those involved with the club over the years are getting older.

“We need young members,” said Rudibaugh. “We have 18-20 members, but only five or six to do the work.

One major event for the Lions Club is the Fireworks Display every Independence Day season.

But with rising costs for the fireworks and a lack of donations, that traditional display is in doubt next year.

“If the businesses and individuals don’t donate for the fireworks, there won’t be any next year,” said Rudibaugh. “It takes 90 percent of our budget to do the fireworks, and that doesn’t leave enough for us to do what the Lions Club is supposed to do.”

The programs that the Lions Club helps to support include Leader Dogs, cancer research, Kids Eyes, Vision First Eye Bank and others.

The club holds a Pancake Day twice a year, and any other money raised comes from donations, flags placed in town on holidays or food sales at the fireworks.

Many remember the days of Bingo held at the Mount Vernon Street Fesitval, but Rudibaugh said that he doesn’t have the manpower to do that anymore.

The process to become a member is simple.

“Just ask to become a member,” said Rudibaugh. “The annual dues are $65, $95 for the first year. We accept men and women in the club.”

Rudibaugh and longtime member Bob Beste both had similar reasons why they enjoy being a member of the Lions Club.

They said that giving back to the community was the biggest reward for their time.

New President Jessie Hansen, who will take over for Rudibaugh in July said the flags were her favorite part.

For those interested in becoming a member of the Mount Vernon Lions Club, they can contact a member, or leave a note at P.O. Box 8 in Mount Vernon.