History of the Springfield Gardens Lions Club, Inc.

     In 1917, Melvin Jones, a 38-year-old Chicago business leader, told members of his local business club they should reach beyond business issues and address the betterment of their communities and the world. Jones' group, the Business Circle of Chicago, agreed.  After contacting similar groups around the United States, an organizational meeting was held on June 7, 1917, in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The new group took the name of one of the invited groups, the "Association of Lions Clubs," and a national convention was held in Dallas, Texas, the USA in October of that year. Within three years, Lions became an international organization.  The mission of Lions Club International, Inc is to empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs.  Lions Club International is the largest service organization in the world with 46,000 clubs and 1.4+ million members worldwide.

     On March 23, 2009, the Springfield Gardens Lions Club (SGLC) made history with 26 enthusiastic charter members.  The SGLC was organized by transfer Lion Greta I. Salsbury, a member of the Brooklyn Prospect Heights Lions Club.  The Brooklyn Prospect Heights Lions Club was the sponsoring club of the Springfield Gardens Lions Club.  PDG Lion Earl Williams was the Guiding Lion to the club and provided much guidance to the club during its early years.  The club met at St. Mary Magdalene Roman Catholic Church for its monthly meetings up to 2010.  However, due to a devastating fire at the church, meetings were relocated to Christ the King Roman Catholic Church.

     During the years of 2009 – 2012, the club was very busy at serving the community through several successful activities including Providing an Annual Holiday Celebration and Toy Giveaway to Dove House (Home for Domestic Violence Victims and their Children); Partnered with local Lion Clubs to sponsor an Annual Pre-Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners for the residents of Saratoga Family Shelter; made donations to the Laurelton Library for the purchase of books; Marched in the Annual ACS Breast Cancer Walk, QSCAN Annual Sickle Cell Awareness Walk and the Laurelton Memorial Day Parade; Organized Eyeglass Collection Drives; Prepared and donated Thanksgiving Day Baskets to families in need; Organized fundraisers at Broadhollow and Black Spectrum Theatres;  Partnered with local politicians in their community events; Participated in environmental events and made yearly donations to non-profit organizations.  On June 23, 2010, the Springfield Gardens Lions Club sponsored and gave rise to the chartering of the Springfield Gardens Leos Club to provide youth between the ages of 12 to 30 an opportunity to “We Serve Too” the community.

     During the years of 2012 – 2014, the club continued its participation in the above activities and fundraisers and continued to build upon the mission “We Serve”.  The club established its signature project “The Reading Action Program (RAP)” at the Laurelton Library originally on Mondays and moved to Wednesdays from 2:30 PM – 6:00 PM.  Club members through the RAP program aid children with reading and homework assignments.   In addition, the club began to march in the Annual ADA Diabetes Walk at Jones Beach.  During these years, the club hosted several successful fundraisers such as raffles, casino bus trips, and the 5th Anniversary Celebration Luncheon.  As a result of the club’s fundraising efforts, the club could initiate a scholarship fund for youth. 

     During the years 2014-2016, the club created cultural celebrations for the community.  Such as an Annual Kwanzaa, Black History, and Earth Day Celebrations at the Laurelton Library.  In addition, the club launched a new fundraiser, “Cheesecake for a Cause” and began to organize coat drives to benefit the NYC Cares Coat Drive.   In 2016, the Springfield Gardens Lions Club applied and obtained 501C3 status.

     The Springfield Gardens Lions Club, Inc. continues the mission “We Serve”.  Apart from adhering to the club activities and events mentioned above, the club now organizes food drive collections for local food pantries and has increased the number of Thanksgiving Day baskets for needy families.  In addition, the SGLC has partnered with other non-profit organizations to provide personal hygiene and items of basic need for families locally, domestically, and internationally affected by natural disasters.  In October 2016, the club organized its First White Cane Awareness Event for the community.  The club continues to hold Annual White Cane Awareness or Vision Health Workshops in October for the community.  In 2017, the SGLC launched an e-clubhouse website for the club through Lions Clubs International, Inc.  In April 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Springfield Gardens Lions Club, Inc. went virtual by holding monthly General/Board Meetings via the Zoom platform.  On June 13, 2021, the SGLC held its first World Environment Day Celebration via Zoom.  This event featured a walking tour of Idlewild Park Preserve located in Springfield Gardens, New York.  On July 24, 2021, the SGLC under the leadership of Club President Lion Sandra Townsend completed a successful Shoe Fundraiser by collecting 2,396 pairs of shoes.

     The Officers and Members of the Springfield Gardens Lions Club, look forward to the future of serving their community and welcome new members that want to “Serve”. 



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