Lost In Busy-ness

Writing posts for Grumpa Joes Place have taken the back seat to two big projects in my life. The first is a Lions club thing which I will explain below. The second is a personal project inside my house. All other projects like making art, reading, etc have dropped to the bottom of the list.

  • The Lions Club thing. As the Club Service Chair it is my job to come up with ways to serve the community. An active club is one that has many hands-on projects as well as one that writes checks. For too many years my club has languished in stagnation being satisfied with writing checks. The forefathers of forty years ago decided that it was more efficient to organize a once a year fund raiser which would fund all of our service in the community. As time passed the membership dwindled from 130 to fifty, and that became the topic of our board meetings. All of us were in a quandry about how to turn things around. Some of the loss was a normal nationwide trend experienced by all service clubs. People just didn’t join anymore.
  • After ten years in the club, I accepted the presidency. The first thing I did was to set some new goals for myself and the club. We needed to change the culture of the organization from one of check writing to one of activity. I was highly criticized by members young and old that with limited numbers we couldn’t do everything. I analyzed the membership and their participation in activities, I surveyed them with questions like “why did you join a Lions Club?” The number one answer was “I want to give back.” The activity analysis pointed out that the Pareto principle was working well within our organization. Exactly twenty percent of the members were responsible for eighty percent of the activities.
  • I studied Lions Clubs International guides about how to run a club, about how to run a project, about how to determine what the community needs are. I was on the right track with my goals. Thankfully, I had another Lion on my side and between the two of us we began signing up for activities throughout the village. Polar Express, Bunny Breakfast, Rib Fest, Movies on the Green, all of these involved a few members and a short period of time. Yes, the same twenty percent of active members were still active, but more so, and we began to see new faces show up. It was my philosophy that the many members needed many different types of activity to interest them. With variety and short duration the participation began to grow. We still write checks, and we still have a large fund raiser every year, but we also have a lot more, and we are now up to seventy-two members.
  • Currently, as Club Service Chair, I suggested we do some things for the homeless. I suggested a Winter Coat Drive. The board liked it. I jumped at the opportunity, and within a week we had collection-boxes scattered about the village. That stimulated a need for publicity. Wallah, a member stepped up to a post on our Facebook page and our website. Others agreed to empty the boxes. We found a location to store the coats. Then, organized a sorting session to separate them into men’s, women’s, and children’s, and to bag them in counts of ten. With a system in place we could deliver them to the charities easily. We distributed 735 coats throughout the Township. More importantly our members were excited. The question on the table was “what’s next?” I figured that perhaps a clean pair of socks would be appreciated by someone who had nothing. I turned out to be right. Luckily, my Sock Drive committee decided to approach the grammar schools to assist. Fortunately, the Principals and teachers bought in to the idea, and they added to the fun by proposing a competition between classrooms. The Lions promised to award the winners with a pizza party lunch. We wound up collecting 23,000 pairs of socks.
  • A year passed and it was winter again. The schools asked us to partner again. Yes, we would. This time I asked them to choose from a list of possibles. They ignored my suggestions and decided to collect personal hygiene items: tooth paste, tooth brushes, soap, deodorant, shampoo, etc. We agreed, and found a hundred boxes to distribute in the schools, one for every room. Same deal, pizza party to the winners, except we allowed a first and second place this time. Well, this is why I haven’t posted during March. The collection began on March 1st, and we quickly realized we would need a truck to haul the stuff. The kids counted a total of 21,000 items. All of it is heavier than socks. Nevertheless, Lions jumped in, and within fifteen days we sorted, classified, re-boxed everything into manageable sizes, and delivered it all to sixteen separate charities. Whew!
A Small Order Packed and Ready to Deliver
The Order For Hines VA Homeless Vets

Lions Sorting Into Categories
Lion President Rick and His Wife Elaine Prepare an Order for Trinity Services
  • The personal thing. My wife lovely and I invited her only living relative to live with us, her grandson. He currently lives in his deceased father’s house which is a rented place filled with furniture and goodies accumulated over eight years. He reached a point where living with his father’s ghost was too much to handle emotionally. So, we are rearranging our home to accommodate all the stuff he will bring with him. We are in effect marrying two complete homes into one space. For the next two months I’ll be living in interesting times.

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