A Tradition of Service

From its earliest days the Greater Hartford Host Lions Club has always placed a priority on fund raising. The lifting, pushing and pulling that went into the first fund raiser, an auction, were a sign of things to come. Over the next one hundred years, the Club would donate thousands of hours on hundreds of events to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the club's charitable activities. Horse shows, opera productions, bridge nights, light bulb sales, pancake breakfasts and theatre parties were among the earliest fund raisers.

The Greater Hartford Host Lions Club is perhaps best known in the community for collecting used eyeglasses. A collaborative effort was made with the A.I. Prince Vocational School in Hartford whereby seniors in the woodworking class volunteered to construct eyeglass collection boxes to be distributed throughout the local area. The collected glasses are sorted to determine those that are usable or unusable, processed, and placed in inventory for distribution to optical missions around the world. Many thousands of pairs of glasses have been recycled and donated to those in need in this manner.

Each year, the Club awards college scholarships to deserving students in the local area, funded in part through the generosity of Lion Paul and Beatrice Lowenberg. Available to graduating seniors residing in Hartford, East Hartford, Windsor, Bloomfield, Newington, West Hartford, or Wethersfield, qualified applicants for the Lowenberg Scholarship must be entering or enrolled in a two- or four-year college or university and demonstrate financial need and academic excellence. Preference is given to entering college students with an interest in music and the arts. In recent years, two $2,500 scholarships have been awarded annually.

To support their numerous service projects, the Club has always placed a priority on fund raising. Fund raising projects have included variety shows, horse shows, opera productions, bridge nights, light bulb sales, theatre parties, Journey for Sight, cheese sales, food booths at local festivals, gum ball machines, the sale of entertainment books, auctions, and antique fairs. To raise funds today, the Greater Hartford Host Lions Club conducts an annual nut sale, continues the tradition of its annual pancake breakfast (now in its 58th year), and runs a concession stand at the annual Celebrate! West Hartford weekend.

The Greater Hartford Host Lions Club enthusiastically supports Lions charitable programs on District, State, National and International levels. Among the recipients of donations are the following: Lions Clubs International Foundation; Connecticut Lions Eye Research Foundation; the Lions Low Vision Center in New Britain; The American School for the Deaf (ASD); Connecticut Foodshare; Fidelco Guide Dogs; Oak Hill School; Easter Seals Camp Hemlocks; Connecticut Radio Information Service for the Blind (CRIS); The Bridge Family Center; and West Hartford Community Television. The Club is always on the lookout for a new project to help meet the needs of our community.

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