Loomis Lions Club marks 60 years of community serviceBy: Kathy Maynard, Loomis News Correspondent
Loomis Lions Club
What: Community service organization
Meetings: Noon, first and third Tuesday of month
Where: First Tuesday at Veterans Memorial Hall, 5945 Horseshoe Bar Road; Third Tuesday at Secret Ravine Winery, 4390 Gold Trail Way
If your third grader brings a new flag home from school, your Boy Scout goes on a camping trip, your Del Oro student belongs to the band, or you attend the crab feeds held at the Blue Goose, your family has benefited from the Loomis Lions Club
It would be tough to find many people in the area who have not been touched by one of Loomis’ oldest volunteer service organizations. Chartered in 1953, Loomis Lions Club members meet for lunch twice a month and work together to recognize community needs and develop ways to meet them.
“We are very community oriented and nearly everything we do comes back to the community. Most of the funds we collect stay right here in Placer County or even closer to home, especially to the schools in the Loomis area,” said Vicky Morris, club secretary and one of seven women members.
On Flag Day, Lions introduce third graders to the Star Spangled Banner and give them each a flag. They also take part in the Loomis Parent Teacher Club Soap Box Derby, support the local Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts and enter local musical students between the ages of 8 and 20 in the World of Talent competition, awarding $500 scholarships to winners.
“We’ve been very fortunate here, last spring we had three winners, two vocalists and a violinist. In past years, we’ve had as many as six winners from Del Oro or other schools in the Loomis District,” said Ron Jones, president.
Jones, who retired from Del Oro’s music department, said he joined the Lions six years ago to volunteer after seeing all the Lions do for Del Oro, which includes supporting Band Spectacular, FFA, Sober Grad Night, the Aquatic Center and awarding $1,000 scholarships to graduates.
The Loomis Lions have almost 50 members, who hail from all walks of life, ranging in age from the late 30s to the 90s, said Morris. One of the longest standing active members is Jim Makimoto, 90, who joined about 40 years ago, when he was a fruit farmer.
“I have been given the responsibility of cooking up the shrimp at the crab feeds. I have a regular crew that works with me and I’ve got that job tied down. We have a good time doing that twice a year,” Makimoto said.
Held every November and February for the last 35 years, the crab feeds are the Lions’ largest fundraisers. The very popular events always sell out in advance and feature all-you-can-eat sour dough bread, salad with a homemade dressing, clam chowder, shrimp and crab.
Lions Club members frequently join other groups to perform service projects. Most recently, members helped sort cans of food and deliver baskets for the Loomis Basin Christmas Basket program and partnered with the American Legion, Soroptimists International of Loomis Basin and the Boy Scouts to place the 30-foot Loomis Family Christmas Tree in the Loomis Train Depot plaza, said Morris.
The Lions are also known for their work for the visually impaired. On White Cane Day, they collect donations to pay for eye exams and glasses for needy community members. The used glasses they collect at a special box in front of Raley’s are refurbished by specially trained inmates at Folsom Prison and distributed in Panama, Guatemala and Mexico through Lions’ international network.
“We have a good membership, and though many of us are seniors, we still get a lot done,” said Buzz Hebard, the group’s clam chowder chef and a member since 1976.