Lismore Lions Club Flood Relief

A message of hope for Northern NSW as it sees more rain

As Northern NSW braced for even more rain this week, the resilience and determination of volunteers is shining through.

Lions Australia is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year and the theme of “always” being there for the community could not be more relevant.

Lismore was the birthplace of Lions in Australia with Lismore Lions Club founded in 1947.

75 years on, there are several Lions clubs in the area and over 1300 across Australia who have been able to mobilise quickly to provide support to those in need.

Lismore Lions Club President Theo Beemster says it is going to take years for the community to recover and local Lions volunteers will be there every step of the way.

“We will keep going until we’re not needed anymore,” says Theo.

Lismore Lions Club members have their barbecue trailer set up outside Lincraft in Keen Street each day. They have been supporting the clean-up providing food, water and a listening ear to the community and visiting ADF personnel, Fire Brigade, SES crews and volunteers.

Lismore Lions with members of the ADF

Lismore Lions with members of the Australian Defence Force

“We are managing quite well, just a little exhausted. Even though many of our members are in their 80s, they are so sufficient at what they do. We have many business donating sausages and bacon to our cook up which is a huge help. We also have the Goonellabah-Wollongbar & Districts Lions Club helping out and providing food nearby as well and Lismore City Lions Club providing food in South Lismore,” adds Theo.

The Lismore City Lions have also set up a free laundry and shower van at 25 Casino St, South Lismore outside Sheaffe Motors that is operating between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. The van was kindly supplied by the Lions Club of Belmont and District from the Newcastle region.

Local Lions Clubs on the ground are being supported by many volunteers and their communities with hundreds of Lions volunteers across the country shaking donation buckets and hosting fundraisers for the Australian Lions Foundation National Disaster Appeal.

Every dollar raised in the Appeal is being sent directly to local Lions Clubs to provide emergency support to those in need and help the community rebuild.

Anyone looking to make a donation and support those affected by the floods can do so through their local Lions Club or through donating directly to Australian Lions Foundation.

All donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Diabetes care packs for Ukraine

Local Lions volunteers supporting Diabetic Ukrainian refugees

Diabetes is a key global focus for Lions Clubs and volunteers in Australia are coming together to support people all over the world including Ukrainian refugees with Diabetes.

An initiative led by the Lions Australia Diabetes Foundation and Type 1 Diabetes Foundation is packaging up medical supplies to send to Ukrainian refugees with Diabetes.

Diabetes Care Packs Sent to Poland for Ukrainian Refugees

Backpacks containing self-care supplies ready to send to Ukrainian refugees with Diabetes

Lions Australia’s National Diabetes Coordinator Pat Mills says the packs with vital supplies are being sent to refugees in Poland.

“At Lions, we are dedicated to doing what we can to help those in need both in our local communities and globally. Medical supplies are vital for Diabetics and we know there are many displaced Ukrainians that are in desperate need of supplies so our volunteers here in Australia are packaging up little medical kits to send to refugees. To date, we have sent over 200 packs to Poland.”

“Many of us have been watching the devastation in the Ukraine and want to do something to help. It’s a simple project for us but we are providing vital medical support,” says Pat.

Diabetes care packs for Ukraine

67 care-packs ready to send to Poland for Ukrainian refugees

Members of the Lions Club of Shepparton have been assisting on the project, collecting supplies and packing bags to ship to Poland.

Anyone wishing to help support the project can contact and donate to the Lions Australia Diabetes Foundation.

Belmont Lions Club Support Local Homeless Community

Many of us take basic hygiene for granted. Belmont Lions Clubs have launched a new initiative to help those who aren’t so privileged.

The Club have recently launched a mobile laundry and shower facility based at Gateway Church in Pelican, available to anyone who needs it.

The service is funded by Belmont Lions Club who raised the money through BBQs and other fundraising campaigns.

In addition to free laundry and shower facilities, volunteers at the Church often provide visitors with food bundles and fresh veggies.

“Our mission of curing hunger and proving warmth, shelter and food all comes together with this project,” said longtime member of the Club, Deidre Schaefer.

The van hopes to bridge the social divide by improving access to basic hygiene for those experiencing homelessness.

Shower and Laundry Van Belmont Lions Club

Deidre Schaefer from Belmont Lions Club with local government members

Currently, it is estimated that there are over 800 people experiencing homelessness in the Newcastle area.

The Club were also able to purchase a generator using a grant awarded by the NSW government, meaning that the van can operate as a mobile service across the country.

“Anyone in need can call us and we are there” said Schaefer.

 

To learn more about the project, click HERE.

 

 

Lions’ Second-hand Furniture Store Reopens in Clare

The Clare District Lions Club are celebrating the reopening of their second-hand furniture shed. The Club donates proceeds from the furniture sales to several local organisations, as well as donating items of furniture to those in need. 

Club members, Doug Booth and Rob Royal write more:

The Clare Lions Furniture Shed has reopened after the Festive season break.

The Shed, located at 2 Harriett Street, will celebrate its third anniversary in June and its success continues to go from strength to strength.

In that time, the shed has donated more than $55,000 from furniture sales to the nearby communities of Blyth, Burra, Auburn and Watervale.

Organisations such as Operation Flinders Foundation and The Wool, Wine and Wheat Country Education Foundation have benefitted from the Shed’s proceeds. In addition, Clare Hospital has received a diabetes testing machine, as well as items of furniture.

The Shed’s history goes back to 2017 when the local thrift shop stopped accepting furniture because the items were often large and heavy, making them difficult to transport and store.

“Almost immediately, there was an increase in the amount of unwanted secondhand furniture being disposed of at the Local Council Waste Transfer Station,” said Shed manager, Dave Simpson, “besides (wasting) furniture, it led to higher volumes going to landfill, which increased costs for Council and, by default, ratepayers.”

The idea of starting up a secondhand furniture shop then developed within the Clare District Lions Club who, after researching secondhand ventures by other groups, decided to give it a go.

With the generous support of a local family, the Club gained access to a large warehouse and office in a prime location, with no lease payment required for the first six months.

“This was enough time to see if would be a success or not,” assistant Shed manager Chris Ballantyne said.

Using a trailer purchased with a grant and members’ personal utes for collections and deliveries, the operation took off.

Officially opened by the Local, State and Federal politicians in July 2019 with great coverage by local media, the Lions Furniture Shed quickly became the place to take unwanted, quality furniture and white goods.

“All items are sold at very reasonable prices, ensuring a speedy turnover,” said Simpson.

Items from the Shed have been donated to those in need through local community care groups such as Uniting Country SA.

“Sometimes (we donated) just one or two items, but on a number of occasions it has been for a whole house; lounge, dining, beds and fridges for families—mostly single mums with children needing emergency accommodation,” said Allan Mayfield, President of Clare District Lions Club.

Throughout 2020, the store was closed for several months due to Covid-19; however, emergency donations and some collections continued. During this period, rent payments were kindly frozen by the owner of the property.

Since reopening, sales have been consistent. So much so that the Club recently purchased a quality secondhand 4×4 ute, removing the need for members to use their own vehicles.

The Furniture Shed is now a big revenue raiser for the club, but it is more than that.

“We have helped many through our donations of furniture. We have especially helped those unable to buy new furniture, such as those starting out on their first home (and) all local ratepayers by reducing land fill costs to the Council, as well as helping our environment,” said Mayfield

“In the store we also sell Lions cakes and have our Recycle for Sight collection bin.  It is our Lion’s Den,” added Simpson.

Volunteering at the shed has become an option for those unemployed or as an alternative to school.  In most cases, working with a great mob of Lions and other volunteers has helped them develop the skills and confidence to pursue paid employment.

 

The Furniture Shed is open 9:30am to 3:30pm on Fridays and 9am to 12pm on Saturdays. To learn more click HERE.

Lismore Lions Club Flood Appeal

Lions volunteers across Australia are mobilising for flood relief

When disaster strikes Lions roll up their sleeves and take action and that’s exactly what is happening right now.

From Lions Clubs on the ground who are helping with clean-ups, providing essential items to local residents and cooking at evacuation centres to the many volunteers across the country shaking donation buckets and hosting sausage sizzles and fundraisers for the National Appeal, Lions are making a big difference.

CEO of Lions Australia Rob Oerlemans says many Lions Clubs across the country are out in the community doing what they can to help those impacted by the devastating floods.

“In times of disaster Lions take action. Many of our Clubs in QLD and NSW are doing whatever they can right now to help their communities whether it’s assisting residents with clean-ups, providing food and essential items to those who have lost everything or cooking for evacuation centres and volunteers. We expect many of our clubs right across Australia to be out in their communities shaking donation buckets and hosting fundraisers for the Australian Lions Foundation National Disaster Appeal,” says Rob Oerlemans.

Every dollar raised in the Australian Lions Foundation National Disaster Appeal will be sent directly to local Lions Clubs to provide emergency support to those in need.

“In times of disaster, Australian Lions Foundation is focused on getting emergency support to communities in need as quickly as possible. Right now, Queensland and Northern NSW needs Australia’s help and we are working closely with Lions Clubs on the ground and providing them with emergency funds so they can help those in need in their community,” says Australian Lions Foundation Chairperson Tony Benbow OAM.

“Through Lions’ incredible network of over 1200 clubs we are able to deliver goods and support quickly and can be sure it will go to where it is needed most,” adds Tony.

Lismore Lions Club, the first Australian Lions club formed back in 1947, has been providing food and water to their hard-hit community and emergency crews every day for the past 5 days.

Lismore Lions President Theo Beemster says they are feeding hundreds of people each day.

“The town has been completely destroyed with most buildings completely guttered inside – it’s going to take years to rebuild. But our club will keep going until we’re not needed anymore”.

Lions have been providing emergency support to Australian communities for decades. Over $4.6 million was raised and distributed in the recent Australian Lions Foundation National Bushfire Appeal and $1.9 million was raised and distributed to Flood Support last year.

Australians looking to make a donation and support those affected by the floods can do so through their local Lions Club or through donating directly to the Australian Lions Foundation.

All donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Haymes Paint Donate to ALF

Haymes Paint stores and Lions Clubs host BBQ’s with a difference

Lions has a longstanding reputation for hosting some of the country’s best sausage sizzles.

Haymes Paint customers across the country have been enjoying complimentary Lions BBQ’s recently as part of a national promotion that’s delivering much more than just sausage sizzles.

Last month Lions volunteers supported 56 Haymes Point stores across the country with a complimentary Sausage Sizzle and Bacon and Egg Rolls for all customers.

In addition to reimbursing Lions for all costs, Haymes has made a donation of $25,500 to the Australian Lions Foundation Disaster Relief Fund which provides Lions Clubs across Australia with the ability to quickly react in times of need.

Haymes Paint Newcastle

ALF Grants Chairman Ken Hallam, DG Glenys Francis, Haymes Mngr, & Elermore Vale Lions at Haymes Paint store in Newcastle

From Cyclone Tracy in 1974 to the recent droughts, bushfires and horrific 2022 floods, Lions have always been amongst the first to roll up their sleeves and taken action.

Australian Lions Foundation Chairperson Tony Benbow OAM has thanked Haynes for its support.

“The Australian Lions Foundation wishes to thank Haymes Paint for their generous donation and support as well as all of the Lions volunteers who fired up the BBQ at their local Haymes Paint store. Lions is celebrating its 75 Year anniversary in Australia this year and we are so proud of the support we have provided to the community to date.”

“Every dollar donated to Australian Lions Foundation goes towards helping Lions Clubs support their communities in times of need and through Lions’ incredible network of over 1200 clubs you can be confident it’s distributed quickly and to those who need it most,” adds Tony Benbow.

ALF Grants Chairman Ken Hallam, DG Glenys Francis, Haymes Rep, & Warners Bay Lions at Haymes Paint store in Warners Bay

Over $4.6 million was raised and distributed in the Australian Lions Foundation National Bushfire Appeal. But the support from Lions did not stop there. Over the past two years, even through a health pandemic, Lions volunteers have continued to support those affected and are focusing on helping communities rebuild.

For any individuals or businesses looking to give back, the Australian Lions Foundation is a wonderful cause to support.

“We encourage any Australians looking to give back this year to consider donating to Australian Lions Foundation. You never know when you or your family might need assistance or when disaster might strike in your community but if it does Australian Lions Foundation and your local Lions club will do whatever we can to help,” adds Tony Benbow.

To support our volunteers on the ground who are helping with flood recovery, you can make a donation online here.

Donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Lynsey McLeod

How Lions Uses Music To Aid The Young

Music can soothe a troubled mind. Tony Fawcett meets the mastermind behind an award-winning youth program exploiting the power of music.

Whether Queen’s thumping ‘We Are The Champions’ or ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ by artists too numerous to mention, music is a powerful mood influencer.

‘Walking On Sunshine’ can put a spring in our step and Adele’s anthem to lost love, “Someone Like You’, can make some of us cry.

Few recognise that power of music more than Lynsey McLeod, project officer and consultant to the Australian Lions Wellbeing Foundation, until last year known as the Australian Lions Drug Awareness Foundation.

Lynsey McLeod

Lynsey McLeod, project officer and consultant to the Australian Lions Wellbeing Foundation.

For 11 years, Hobart-based Lynsey has been spearheading the organisation’s award-winning online youth health program Tune In Not Out (TINO), billed as a one-stop shop for young people 14-25 seeking information on life’s challenges – from alcohol, drugs, sex and sexual health, to school work, money, bullying and cyber safety.

Apart from sourcing videos, factsheets and stories geared to the challenges of the young, TINO (www.tuneinnotout.com) invites followers to Tune Your Mood, a section geared to helping us understand the power of music on our wellbeing.

“Most of us listen to music regardless of age, from toddlers listening to favourite rhymes to make a car journey easier, to teens selecting songs that are good to study to or adults selecting mood-boosting songs that evoke happy memories in the current day,” explains Lynsey.

The right song, she contends, can change a mood, set a new mood or help the mood feel better, activating feel-good chemicals such as endorphins and oxytocin, sometimes known as the love hormone, in our bodies.

Equally, poorly chosen music can make us feel worse. “This is where understanding and becoming aware of how music is affecting us is so important, and a powerful tool,” says Lynsey who holds a degree in public relations with a background in community services including drug education and family support,

Music can be a double-edged sword, she contends. Some songs can start off being helpful, allowing us to vent our emotions, but then they leave us in a heap.

“They might make us feel angrier and stressed, or bring back negative memories or experiences, unpleasant feelings that make us spiral instead,” she says.

“Once you recognise this, you have the power to adjust this amazing tool by using it as a prevention device, by actively choosing not to listen to certain music at certain times.

This is where TINO comes in.

It encourages young people to take care of their moods, maybe by pressing skip and selecting a new song or playlist to take their mood to a more positive space, to feel more in control of their thoughts and feelings.

Rather than dictating, TINO shares playlists, compiled by young people themselves, of mood-boosting songs proven to lift the spirits, to relax and comfort, relieving listeners of stress and anxiety.

While some suggested songs might seem irrelevant, Lynsey says it’s all about music preference. What works for one person and is quite personal to them might not work for another.

She suggests we all learn to recognise how songs make us feel, play around with our music choices and even make our own playlists. “You might find a new style of music that is really positive for you.”

With two teenage children herself, a daughter 16 and a son 13, she is well placed to observe the positive effect music can have on the young.

So what is her own favourite mood-boosting music?

Definitely the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

“A bit of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers is a family favourite, from father to son their music is something all of us appreciate.”

Yet, not unexpectedly, sad songs, especially those that raise sadder emotions, are generally out.

Too negative.

“I much prefer upbeat nice music,” she assures.

To find out more about the foundation’s work, click here.

 

A sampling of TINO’s contributed soothers

(check them out on Spotify or YouTube)

DINO soars

. Kiss From a Rose by Seal

. Gorillaz by Clint Eastwood

. Boogie Wonderland by Earth Wind & Fire, The Emotions

Madster

. Slow Hands by Niall Horan

. Chained to the Rhythm by Katy Perry, Skip Marley

. Galway Girl by Ed Sheeran

. Mr Brightside by The Killers

Mental Sounds

. Take Me To The Church by Hozier

. Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran

. Hold Back the River by James Bay

dra-bushifire-recovery-australia

Disaster Relief Australia wins Australian Charity Award

Disaster Relief Australia, whom we support through the Lions Disaster Relief Australia Project recently won the Outstanding Achievement category at the 2021 Australian Charity Awards. The Australian Charity awards recognise charitable organisations achieving outstanding results through initiatives significantly benefiting communities.

DRA’s nomination highlighted the impact of their spontaneous volunteer program, specifically during their time assisting the Adelaide Hills community after the devastating Cudlee Creek bushfires during the 2019/20 Black Summer. During their 8 weeklong recovery operation, the team at DRA coordinated more than 250 spontaneous volunteers, all keen to help out their community, neighbors, family and friends.

Spontaneous Volunteer is a term used to describe people exhibiting incredibly old and typical prosocial behaviours. People with no formal association with the emergency management system who put their hands up to help when a disaster happens. It encapsulates the Australian spirit of helping others, and mateship – one of DRA’s core values.

DRA can be called upon to manage and lead those wanting to volunteer to assist within their community in the wake of a natural disaster. By onboarding, inducting, leading and supporting SponVols, DRA is able to significantly increase the assistance provided to disaster-affected communities. The SponVols are employed in a structured, gainful and safe manner. The well-considered approach empowers the communities we serve.

DRA CEO Geoff Evans is immensely proud of his veteran-led organisations’ award. “Volunteerism is an Australian way of life and deeply rewarding to those who take up the challenge. There have previously been few avenues for the community to spontaneously volunteer after a disaster. By providing communities with a way in which to do this, we can help them cope better with the impact of disasters and bounce back faster. With almost half of the Australian population living in communities that have a low-to-moderate level of disaster resilience, there is much work to be done. DRA is proud to be part of this leading effort.”

Lions will continue to support Disaster Relief Australia in their efforts to provide Australian communities help where it’s needed most!

If you’re interested in assisting with this initiative, or their disaster relief efforts, you can find more information here.

Hannah Roberts, Peace Poster

3 International Awards for Lions Australia – Peace Poster Contest and Kindness Matters Service Award

It is our great pleasure to announce that Western Australia student Hannah Roberts has been chosen as a merit award winner in the 34th Annual Lions International Peace Poster Contest, while two Australian Lions/Leo clubs have both been presented with Kindness Matters Service Awards.

Lions International Peace Poster Contest

The Booragoon Lions Club’s sponsored International Peace Poster entry created by Hannah Roberts has been hailed as “amazing” by those who have seen it. 

Peace Poster Winner - Hannah Roberts

Hannah Roberts with her amazing Peace Poster entry.

Approximately 600,000 children from 55 countries participated in this year’s Peace Poster Contest. The posters were judged at the club, district and multiple district levels before reaching the international level, at which point they had been narrowed down to 109 posters.

Based on creativity, originality and portrayal of the theme “We Are All Connected”, Hannah’s entry was chosen as one of 23 merit award winners. As such, Hannah will receive US$500 and a Certificate of Merit.

To be chosen as one of just 23 merit award winners from across the world is indeed a superb honour. Congratulations Hannah! 

Kindness Matters Service Awards

Meanwhile this month, Lions Clubs International presented The City of Adelaide Lions Club and The Leo Club of Melbourne Next Gen with their Kindness Matters Service Awards.

This year, only 30 out of 48,000 Lions clubs received this prestigious award, which is given annually to Lions and Leo clubs for performing an outstanding service project in one of Lions Clubs International’s global cause areas: diabetes, hunger, vision, environment, childhood cancer, humanitarian, disaster relief or youth.

The City of Adelaide Lions Club was presented with the award for their Hear Me Roar! Project founded by the club in 2016. It started by creating care packs and making multi-purpose heart shaped cushions for both adult and child patients in hospitals. It quickly grew to include making port pillows to provide cushioning to the chest and/or abdominal area for people with port/incision/surgical/trauma sites.

They added cushions for children in hospital going through cancer treatment or craniofacial surgeries, disadvantaged and vulnerable youth in various organisations and foster care. In 2018, the project started another initiative, sorting and labeling children’s books, and packing them into age appropriate book bags to be distributed to disadvantaged and vulnerable youth across South Australia. The project has supported over 7,700 individuals across SA so far.

The Leo Club of Melbourne Next Gen was also presented with the award for holding a fundraiser in August, 2021.

Aside from pledging AUD$1000 to support the Lions and Leos from Sri Lanka (in collaboration with Lions Club of Melbourne Next Gen) and the Lions Clubs International Foundation for the purchase of medical and laboratory equipment to fight Covid-19, the Leo Club organised a Virtual Telethon to raise further funds for the ‘Thousand Hopes’ campaign!

Well done to all!

Lions volunteers give the gift of education to young non-verbal autistic boy

Lions volunteers give the gift of education to young non-verbal autistic boy

As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child and this is especially true for young children with autism.

Early intervention is key for the learning and development of children with autism and with the support of Lions volunteers a young non-verbal autistic 4-year-old is kickstarting 2022 with the education he needs to reach his full potential.

Thomas’ parents are from Columbia. They are not permanent residents in Australia and therefore cannot access the NDIS. Navigating the system is particularly difficult and expensive. Despite both working Thomas’ parents couldn’t afford the early intervention their 4-year-old son needs.

Lions supporting young boy with autism

Lions volunteer Elvio Munzone with Thomas and his Dad Daniel.

When he came across the Martinez family last year, Sydney based Lion volunteer Elvio Munzone was on a mission to do what he could to help.

He quickly rallied within the Lions network and was able to secure $22,000 funding which will give Thomas access to 48 weeks of early intervention education.

“At Lions we’re passionate about helping those in need in the community. When Thomas’ parents reached out to me and explained their situation I was very keen to do what I could to assist. Early intervention is so important particularly for children with autism. This is not the first time Lions has supported young children with autism. A few years ago, we supported a young non-verbal boy with autism who benefited greatly and is now speaking and attending school.”

Thanks to Lions Clubs of Bondi, Manly, Lugarno, Coogee, Hunter Business Lions Club, Blacktown Ponds, Parramatta, Epping Eastwood, Sydney Seaside, Sydney Champions Inner West, Follow Your Dream Foundation-Australia and a grant from the Australian Lions Foundation, Thomas will now have the opportunity to benefit from early intervention too.

Thomas’ parents say they are very grateful for the support.

“As a young family and not permanent residents in Australia, navigating the health and education system can be hard and it’s very expensive. Thomas is everything to us and we are just so grateful that he is now able to access the early intervention that he needs, “says Daniel Martinez.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you to Lions for your support. It’s hard to find more words to express just how grateful we are. It is such an important time in our son’s life and we are sure that he will benefit greatly from this early intervention education. Thank you.”