The Lions Club brought community members together with its past and present club members Saturday with a barbecue dinner in Castaic.
“We take advantage of that moment as a signature moment to have,” said club President Robert Butler. “So people see how they operate, encourage people to come out and see what’s going on.”
Guests ranged from representatives of SCV Water, the Castaic Union School District, nearby housing developments and the SCV Senior Center. The Lions Club works to “recognize community needs and develop means of meeting them, either though its own effort or in cooperation with other agencies,” according to its website. The club is also looking to expand its reach and membership to become a valleywide organization.
“We try to get people to work together to make their community better, improve their life in the community,” Butler said. “You can try to get a constructive group of people together to fix problems. That’s important to you.”
The club’s past efforts include the SCV Senior Center Thanksgiving event, which was supported by members of the community including students from across the William S. Hart Union High School District.
“Those are magical moments when you have a high schooler walking a senior to their car with an extra bag with a meal for Thanksgiving,” said Kevin MacDonald, executive director of the Senior Center. “Thank you Lions for all of that. It’s a special day.”
The group has also inspired West Ranch High School students Oviya Logesh and Ananya Mehotra to organize their own Leo Club, a youth program through the Lions Club. The program’s aims include helping young people to become organized, perform community service and contribute to their community.
The goal for this particular Leo Club is to help students with an addiction to drugs such as opioids, Butler said.
Toward the end of the barbecue, Lions Club Vice President Flo Lawrence received the Melvin Jones Fellowship, an award that recognizes humanitarian work and donations of $1,000 made by individual Lions, clubs or districts. As someone who emulates Melvin Jones, the founder of Lions Club International, Lawrence is an unbelievable guy, Butler said.
“Everything we do, we hope to spark something in someone’s heart,” Lawrence said, “and (they say), ‘Boy this is great. I want to be a part of it.’”