Where There’s a Need, There’s a Lion
A proposed North Brunswick Lions Club chapter is looking for new members.
Irwin Siegelwax, past district governor and current club organizer for Brunswick County Lions Clubs, recounts an experience he encountered at a Christmas in July event 20 years ago. When he gave a wallet to a 10-year-old boy, the boy looked at him and said, “Thank you for coming.” The child’s sincerity moved Siegelwax to become more involved with the Lions Club. “I never thought I’d get as involved as I am,” he says.
A Calabash resident, Siegelwax is determined to organize a North Brunswick Area Lions Club to include Leland, Belville, Winnabow, Navassa and the other surrounding towns. Lions Clubs International requires each club to have 20 members to be officially recognized. Thus far, 14 people have signed up for the North Brunswick Area Lions Club. An informational meeting is planned for Wednesday, March 20 from 6 to 7 p.m. at The Bridge Presbyterian Church in Leland.
Although Lions Clubs are active in Calabash, Shallotte, Oak Island and Southport, Siegelwax says these are miles away from the north end of Brunswick County, where the population is expanding. “There’s a need for a club there,” he says. “Our Brunswick County Lions Clubs motto is, ‘Where there’s a need, there’s a Lion.’”
Cathy Delaney, secretary of Calabash Lions Club and chair of all Brunswick County Lions Clubs, agrees. “When you come to a couple of meetings, you get excited about things and you want to serve,” she says.
Lions Clubs are service organizations that a Chicago businessman founded in 1917 to address social problems created by World War I. Within three years it became international when Windsor, Ontario, Canada formed a club. By then 23 states had Lions Clubs. Today the organization has 1.5 million members in 46,000 clubs in 208 countries. North Carolina has 282 clubs with 5,800 members.
Siegelwax and his wife, Linda, joined a Lions Club in New Jersey in 1999 and kept their memberships when they moved to Calabash in 2005.
Delaney joined the Calabash Lions Club in 2009 shortly after her husband passed away. “Someone asked me to join,” she says. “I joined to give myself something to do, but you get excited because you’re giving back.”
Both Delaney and Siegelwax explain that Lions Clubs step forward to assist where the community needs them. When disasters occur, such as Hurricane Florence, Lions Clubs are there to provide food, water, clothing, blankets, medical supplies and other needs.
The Lions Club presence is seen throughout Brunswick County. Bins for nonperishable food are placed at various locations for Lions Club members to deliver to Brunswick Family Assistance. The Calabash Lions Club provides vision screenings for Brunswick County schoolchildren and pays for glasses when a person applies and a need is warranted. It held screenings for eSight, electronic glasses for the visually impaired and legally blind. Nearly a dozen people qualified for the glasses, which cost $5,900.
“We’re giving people an opportunity to be tested,” Delaney says.
Bins are placed at various points throughout the county for people to drop unused and broken eyeglasses that Lions Clubs collect to be recycled. Calabash Lions also go to Autumn Care in Calabash twice a month to help with bingo. They provide snack bags at schools for children with diabetes.
The most meaningful reason these people are members is because they get “interior satisfaction from helping others,” Siegelwax says.
“I agree,” Delaney adds. “Where there’s a need, there’s a Lion. It’s been proven more than once.”
Want to join the Lions?
Come to a meeting for the propsed North Brunswick County Lions Club Chapter:
Wednesday, March 20, 6 to 7 p.m.
The Bridge Presbyterian Church, 497 Olde Waterford Way, Suite 205, Leland
Irwin Siegelwax: (910) 209-6170 or email firstname.lastname@example.org For more information about Lions Clubs International, go to lionsclubs.org. For information about eSight, go to esighteyewear.com.