To the more than 60 persons present at the Saddle River Valley Lions Club’s recent ‘Night of Giving,’ the overall atmosphere of the evening was captured when it was described by club president Christopher Reichert as “both inspirational and moving.’ Held by the club annually, the event is the presentation venue for the distribution of the charitable grants made to the S.R.V. Lions’ recipient organizations. This year more than $95,000 was given away, bringing the total of donations made by the club during its 57 year history to more than $2.2 million dollars.
More than sixty people were present at the celebratory occasion which, in addition to the members themselves, included almost two dozen representatives from the many charitable, civic, and educational groups supported by the Lions. Those attending this year’s ‘Night of Giving’ all received warm praise in the welcome address of the current Lions Club president, Christopher Reichert. Reichert spoke of the Lions’ “ongoing commitment to support the good work of those who provide direct services to those in need.” He went on to express his “deep thanks and appreciation to the club’s members who planned and participated in all of its fundraising and service efforts.”
According to the treasurer of the Lions Club, Paula Turrin, this year’s total of funds donated to it’s sponsored charities exceeded that of recent years. Turrin explained that “the Saddle River Valley Lions Club is classified as a 501C(3) non-profit entity. One hundred percent of the net proceeds we raise go directly to the charities and organizations that that the Club supports. None of the funds raised are used to meet administrative expenses as these costs are borne directly by our members themselves.”
The highlight of the evening was the actual distribution of grants and donations with the chairpersons of five of the club’s standing committees making the actual presentations to representatives from each of the recipient organizations. In introducing David Feinhals, the representative of the St. Joseph’s School for the Blind, Sight Committee Chairman, Lion John Chambers, expressed a viewpoint echoed throughout the evening. Chambers said that "the Lions Night of Giving gives all those in our Club a chance to meet representatives from the organizations that we assist with our funds and to learn more specifically of projects and individuals that we are helping with our contributions."
In his acceptance of the Lions’ donation, Feinhals expressed the appreciation to his organization in his acknowledgement that “the Saddle River Valley Lions Club has been a consistent and very generous part of our funding for well over fifteen years. The funds we receive from Lions Clubs allow us to offer services such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, as well as orientation and mobility instruction.”
In a warmly addressed thank you speech, another of the guests, current Upper Saddle River Superintendent of Schools Dr. Monica Browne, spoke on behalf of her fellow administrators in the Saddle River Valley. Highlighting the Lions’ work in establishing Leo Clubs (the student service clubs affiliated with Lions), Browne summed up the feelings of her colleagues by saying that “as important as the Lions’ financial support is to our schools, the establishment of the Leo Clubs do something even more significant. They provide another vehicle through which we can teach our students the importance and meaningfulness of service to others.”
Lions President Reichert closed the evening’s program by speaking about the mission of Lions Clubs. He explained that “Lions International is the world's largest service club organization with over 1.3 million members in approximately 45,000 clubs in more than 208 countries and geographical areas around the world. Founded in 1917, membership is by invitation and although the organization is best known for fighting blindness, the Club also performs volunteer work for many different kinds of community projects – including caring for the environment, feeding the hungry, and aiding seniors and the disabled.” Reichert added a bit of his own personal perspective saying that "it's so great to help the organizations that make our lives better and safer."
Reflecting back on the previous year’s efforts, S.R.V. Lion Jim Murphy seemed to capture the overall tenor of the Lions’ current state of affairs, describing it as “simply fantastic.” When asked to elaborate, Murphy’s enthusiasm was evident in his statement that “what a great thing it is to give the resources that these fantastic organizations need in order to go on improving lives year after year.”
For further information about the any aspect of the Saddle River Valley Lions Club, including membership opportunities, please visit www.SRVLions.org or our Facebook page. To learn more about the Leo Club Program, go to the Youth Programs section of the Lions Web site at www.lionsclubs.org.