Shaking My Bucket

My stories don’t generally cover my personal activities, but do include brief examples of life lessons. Today I awoke at six, a full half hour before the opportunity alarm sounded. The temperature in the house was down to sixty-eight degrees, the lowest since last winter. Outside, the first frost of autumn displayed a soft white glaze over the lawn.

I shuffled down to my personal bath in the basement and shaved a four day beard. My appearance today had to be sharp and clean. It was show time for my Lions Club. Candy Day 2018 is a very important fundraiser for Lions Illinois Foundation. Basically, we (Lions) stand at intersections and at storefronts shaking our buckets. Our buckets are empty one gallon plastic milk jugs with a hole cut into the side. We paste a Lions Candy Day label on the side to cover the dairy label. As we say we shake our cans looking as pathetic as we can asking the public for money. 

My station this morning was at the local Dunkin-Donuts shop. I asked our event leader where I should stand. He said, “Oh just hang around the front door.” This was my first experience standing in front of a store shaking my can. In previous years I stood in an intersection at the Burger King. That was an adrenaline producing work out because with traffic coming at me from three directions it kept me moving out of the way. The worst was dodging a semi-truck delivering to one of the stores in the plaza. They need a lot of room to make a turn and the trailer typically cuts across the spot where I usually stood. 

Within two minutes of covering the front door I saw where I should be standing. The drive by takeout window had a line of cars six long. I went there and stood in one place. A very dour group of drivers lowered their windows to reach out with a dollar or with a handful of change scrounged from the console. In return I handed each of them a roll of mints, hence the name Candy Day.

The Lions Illinois Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization and a means used by Illinois Lions Clubs to provide statewide services for the visually and hearing impaired.

It was founded July 1, 1974, is registered with the Office of Illinois Attorney General, and qualifies 501c# tax-exempt organization.

All programs are approved by Lions at the annual membership meeting in May. The Foundation is governed by Elected trustees from each district.

The Lions Of Illinois Foundation is devoted to the highest Lions ideals of service to those with vision or hearing impairments.

Through the Foundation, communities and clubs benefit from these services:

  • Camp Lions for Children and Adults
  • Adult Low Vision
  • Lions of Illinois Statewide Student Low Vision Valuation Clinics
  • Mobile Retinal Screening Unit
  • Mobile Hearing Screening Unit
  • Used Hearing Aid Bank
  • Recycling: Used Eyeglasses, Hearing Aids, Keys, Cell Phones, wire and Aluminum tabs
  • Social Services and Referral
  • Lions of Illinois Funds for Emergencies (L.I.F.E.)

It is funded mainly by club contributions from Candy Day, Sight and Sound Sweepstakes, Tootsie Pop Day, Gift Card Campaign, Annual Gala, Car Show and BBQ.

The Foundation led a campaign to raise $5 million to finance construction of the Lions of Illinois Eye Research Institute (L.I.E.R.I.) in Chicago, as well as the campaign to raise $1.1 million to finance the Charles I. Young Professional Chair.

The above explains why I stood in drive-through window at Dunkin-Donuts on the morn of the first freeze to shake my can in an attempt to help my club support L.I.F.

Several kinds of people came across my path:

1. Non-smiling, sleepy looking, caffeine deprived early morning risers who slowly groped about the car seeking change, but eventually opened a wallet to pull a dollar bill or two. Even though they didn’t look at me smilingly they cheered up when I told them to have a “great day.”

2. Smiling, cheerful, eagerly rolling down the window to load my can with paper money or a handful of change. They thanked me and accepted the mints with a broad smile.

3. The drive-by, usually with black windows who couldn’t be identified, and impossible to make eye contact with. I waved and wished them a good morning anyway.

Dark Windows is any one in there?

4. Smiling, cheerful, eagerly rolling down the window to tell me that he doesn’t carry cash.  I tell him next time I will have a credit card machine. He laughs as I tell him to have a wonderful day/

After an hour and forty-five minutes my bones were chilled and aching. My shaken bucket was full so I gave it up for the day.

One Response

  1. Thanks for doing this. You are a good guy.

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