Americans are truly diverse in our churches, our home styles, and the clubs we choose to volunteer for and belong to. Service organizations are as varied as cactus, but less pointy. We have the Rotary, the Elks, the Lions, and the Scouts.

People in the East Mountains or the Estancia Valley support Wildlife West, the Moriarty Historical Society, Route 66 Arts Alliance, the Justice Art League, the libraries everywhere, student athletic activities, and the list goes on and on. However, during this time of pandemic, meeting to fulfill the stated missions of these organizations has proven difficult, but not impossible. This will be the first of a series to show how people are coping and to what lengths they have gone to keep on serving others.

The Edgewood Lions will be at the top of my list and I say unashamedly, “I am a member, and I am speaking about my friends.”

I recently attended the “new” meeting at the Pinto Bean Barn of Wildlife West. Gloved up and masked, we have certainly met the requirements according to the CDC. Tables were spread out and chairs at the tables each held only two members. The officers attend these bimonthly meetings and, we keep in touch by computer and telephone. I had brought over some used hearing aides given to the club by councilwoman Linda Holle. Lions, who started out helping those who needed glasses, now also work for diabetes, hearing, and many other worldwide projects.

Current officers in the Edgewood Lions Club are President Bryan Gilbert, Vice-President K.R. Scott, Secretary Linda Scott and Treasurer Frank Lasky. Frank is a former District Governor and the first to hold that position from our club. Today, we have another one of our members hold that same position. Debbie Bryan is our new District Governor for July 2020 to 2021. She has worked with Lions for over 30 years and had held every position in the District and State Lion’s Pride. There was a time when New Mexico sported three districts, but, as with most service organizations, membership has been waning over the last 20 years. Lions are still facing up to the challenges of local, state, and international needs.

For those who are unfamiliar with Lions, it is an international organization begun in Chicago by Mr. Melvin Jones on June 7, 1917. At first it was all businessmen who wanted to do charitable work. Then they were asked by Helen Keller to become knights for the blind, and the idea of helping those individuals became the quest. Lions in their century of service all over the world helped end infant blindness in Africa. This was only the first of many challenges they met. Lions International sends money and ambassadors to worthy projects anywhere in the world. This year the International Guide has five points: first, the blind, second, fighting hunger, third, diabetes and hearing, fourth, a cure of childhood cancer, and finally, awareness of our environment.

Edgewood Lions are now planning a food drive where you will drive up in your car and donate canned goods to either Bethel Storehouse or East Mountain Pantry. It will take place in November and will be advertised in The Independent. They just finished raising donations by supplying lunches for hungry shooters at Founder’s Ranch. Normally, the Lions provide hot dogs for Rich Ford in August. This had to be cancelled because of the pandemic. Our mission has always been to fight hunger in our valley.

At the meeting I attended, our club discussed what could be done in the winter and on to spring. Frank explained we are still on the prowl, cautiously searching for things we can tackle without contaminating anyone. I called K.R. Scott, who at the time was wrangling his grandsons in Texas. He explained that there was discussion about our old friend Wildlife West. The animals need food too, and it was indeed a priority. For years we could do melodramas and projects at Wildlife West. Now more than ever they need our help. In this trying time helping feed all those hungry animals is definitely a good idea. So, the Lions will be feeding the Christians (and Christians might help feeding the lions, as long as they’re not feeding the lions, if you get my drift) and anyone else in the months coming up. Two paws or four paws, the Lions are here “To Serve,” which is their motto. This is one time where the Lion and the Mouse are one and the same, over and out.