Community Voices:

For over 22 years, the Atlanta Metro Lions Club has focused its volunteer efforts to serve needs in Southwest Atlanta and surrounding areas.

The chapter is part of the Lions Clubs International, which is the “World’s Largest Service Club Organization,” according to their web site.

The Atlanta Metro chapter’s motto is simple, “We serve,” but encompasses a variety of community service projects including vision programs and services, fundraising for college scholarships and other health related needs.

Each April, the organization participates in White Cane Day, a fundraiser for the Georgia Lighthouse for the Blind. The chapter collects monetary donations at some Kroger locations and all money raised goes toward providing vision services including eye surgeries, cataract surgeries and glaucoma treatment for people who do not have access to insurance.

According to Shelia Morrow, the Atlanta Metro chapter’s Secretary, the chapter has conducted vision screenings at health fairs and schools. “Our members are trained on how to use the machines to test vision and can recommend individuals see eye doctors.” In some cases, the club has paid for glasses and eye exams for needy individuals.

The organization has “taken students to get their eyes examined and bought them new glasses,” said chapter member and Past District Governor Vanessa Stanley. They also take donations of used eyeglasses, which are cleaned and scanned for prescriptions. Broken eyeglasses are accepted and all parts of the glasses are recycled and donations help people in Georgia and throughout the world.

In August, the chapter also serves as a sponsor for the Atlanta Fire-Rescue Stations No. 16 and No. 19 Annual Fired Up! 5K Walk/Run, a college scholarship fundraiser for students in both Fire Station service areas at Washington High School and Grady High School. While the 2014 event was cancelled, organizers hope to bring the event back for 2015.

Other projects they sponsor include the chapter’s annual Food Tasting Extravaganza to raise funds to support the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation, hosting the Atlanta Fire Station #16 annual Christmas Party, volunteering at the Fulton County Juvenile Court’s National Adoption Day event, preparing meals for Hands On Atlanta/Meals on Wheels and supporting the Georgia Lions Camp, where children and adults who are visually impaired participate in activities such as rock climbing and swimming.

The Atlanta Metro Lions Club meetings are open to the public and the chapter is looking for new members and volunteer partners, however membership is not required to volunteer. The chapter meets twice a month at Piccadilly Cafeteria at Greenbriar Mall 6 p.m. on the first Thursday and noon the third Thursday.

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