Kent Lions have rich history of service to community

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For more than 67 years the Kent Lions Club has been serving the Kent community and beyond. The primary philanthropic focus of the Kent Lions Club is to promote eye care and preserve sight. However, the club also supports many community organizations and projects that provide for other needs within the community.

The Kent Lions Club has a rich history of sight-related services and projects. Most importantly, the Kent Lions Club spends about $9,000 annually to provide eye exams and eyeglasses to adults and children in Kent who do not have the means to secure them. The club is proud to support the 13-D Melvin Jones Eye Care Foundation, a cooperative effort of all local Clubs in Ohio District 13-D. The foundation helps make it possible for uninsured people in the district to undergo more expensive eye care procedures, such as cataract surgery.

The Kent club is proud to have provided 59 Pilot Dog scholarships over the past 67 years. The club's goal is to sponsor at least one Pilot Dog scholarship per year, a commitment of $9,500. The club also regularly contributes to various organizations in support of eye care services and eye research such as the American Diabetes Association, Cleveland Eye Bank and Cleveland Sight Center, American Council of the Blind, and The Lions Club International Foundation. The club has collected thousands of used glasses for recycling and use in developing countries.

Each year, the Kent Lions Club assists the Kent City Schools in administering eye screenings to 1,200 school children. With the Lions Club assistance, the school staff can complete these exams early in the school year to identify children who may need eye care.

Throughout the year, the Lions serve the Kent community through making donations to agencies such as "All Together Now," Portage County Child Advocacy Center, Portage Park District, Pedal with Pete Foundation, Joint Service Club Scholarship, and Kent Social Services Thanksgiving and Christmas drives. The club also participates in Salvation Army Bell Ringing, regular delivery of food from Akron Food Band to Kent Social Services, the Kent Heritage Festival, and highway clean up along S.R. 261.

In order to fund all the club's projects, the Kent Lions host several annual fundraisers. The first Sunday in March, the Lions hold the annual Pancake Breakfast, which serves nearly 1,000 patrons. This year on Aug. 2 and 3, the club will host the 7th annual Sweet Corn Festival at Beckwith Orchard. Each October is Carnation Month for the Kent Lions; we distribute about 2,500 dozen carnations throughout Portage and Summit counties. The Lions enjoy providing the community with these fun opportunities to support its work in the community and it is grateful for community and local business.

The Kent Lions are deeply appreciative of Kent State University's Delta Gamma Sorority for serving at the annual pancake breakfast and for helping to package and deliver thousands of dozens of carnations each October.

The Kent Lions Club was chartered on Nov. 18, 1946 with 55 members under President Lee Maag, and the original signed charter is displayed at the Kent Historical Society. Today the club belongs to the Multiple District 13-D and Lions International. Currently, the club boasts 52 members, making it the largest of the 12 Clubs in Portage County. The club invites you to help continue its work. New members have the opportunity to build on the club's tradition of service, while having a lot of fun along the way.

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