In 1973 a small group of men decided that a second Lions Club was needed in Michigan City. The objective was not to compete with the Michigan City Lions Club which was meeting every week at noon but to form a smaller club which would meet twice a month on the 2nd and 4th Thursday evenings. This became and has ever since been the Michiana Lions Club.
The very purpose of Lions Clubs the world over is to live up to our motto "WE SERVE". Lions Clubs are the largest service club in the world existing in many nations. At Michiana we strive to make achieving this goal both interesting and fun.
Our meetings are held on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of all months except December when only one meeting is held on the 2nd Thursday. The December meeting is our Christmas celebration. The 2nd Thursday meeting in July is the installation of new officers for the Lions year which runs from July 1st to June 30th. Meetings are currently held at Memo's House of Pancakes & Restaurant starting at 6:00 PM. Many members arrive early between 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM for informal comradeship. Our meetings consists of dinner ordered from the Lions Menu plus a short program of interest. The first meeting in those months which carry the odd designation (i.e. 1, 3, 5 etc.) are designated as business meetings and have no program.
Our main fund raising events number five, consisting of "Candy Days", the collection of money outside Al's Franklin St., Al's Karwick Plaza and Big R store. The sale of Candy and Nuts runs from September through October and participation in the LaPorte Lions Clubs golf outing in early summer. All profits from these events is totally given to charitable causes in amounts as decided by the Finance committee and approved by the members.
We also participate in projects that serve our community. Vision screening of young children to detect early onset of sight problems are currently held at the Imagination Station where we have been screening up to 60 youngsters each year and this month we are adding Head Start Program at Neiman School where we will screen in excess of 200 youngsters. Also new this year was the distribution of some 50 backpacks to needy children in cooperation with Big R Store. Our members individually also participate in local free lunch programs, housing for the homeless, ramp construction, etc.
Our funds are maintained by our Treasurer in three seperate accounts. The operating fund which pays our dinner bills, International and District per capita assessments and any other costs associated with operating the club, the emergency fund which is used to help any members or members families which find themselves in need and the project fund which is used solely for our charitable giving. The Emergency fund is capped at $600.00 and stays at that amount unless used at which point it is slowly rebuilt.
Currently our yearly dues are $75.00 per member payable in January. The cost for each meeting is currently $13.00 which pays the Restaurants $12.00 charge and any cost for speakers or visitors dinners. At each meeting a Lion who is titled the Tail Twister visits each member receiving contributions for any specific reason the member wishes to honor and also may get fined if the member has no Lions identification in view. 25% of these voluntarily given funds go to replenish the Emergency fund if it has fallen under $600.00 and the rest go into operating costs. Honored events may consist of family birthdays, anniversaries and special happenings. Some of our members who happen to have very large numbers of descendants contribute quite heavily to the Tail Twister.
Last but not least Lions Clubs International has been and will always be dedicated to improving the lives of those who are visually impaired. To that end Lions collect used eyeglasses (and you will see the collection boxesin various stores, offices and clubs) process them including repair, cleaning, determining scripts and packaging individually. Then they are shipped to Mexico where groups of visiting Lions screen applicants to find glasses that fit their needs and give them out free. U.S. law prohibits giving them out in the United States. Currently Michiana and Michigan City Lions Clubs are cooperating in putting together a complete list of where the collection boxes are located so that organized retrieving of glasses can be iniated.
The training and providing of Leader Dogs (once called seeing eye dogs) is carried out in Rochester, Michigan. The training of one dog costs $36,000.00 and they are given free to those in need, including training the recipient with the dog for three months at the training facility all expenses covered. Support of this program is covered by donations from Lions Clubs and individuals.
The Michiana Lions Club currently has 25 members. Our membership consists of 4 women and 21 men. We are always happy to have new members join Michiana as our members are our strength!
Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service club organization with more than 1.4 million members in approximately 46,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas around the world.