Lions Club International has 5 global causes - In District 22 W, we bring those global causes to our local communities. Impacting the world, starts in our own backyard.
"We serve to ensure all community member to nutritious foods.
We serve to improve human flourishing. We see how the global hunger and nutrition crisis bears upon our local communities, and believe true community improvement depends on the thriving of it members."
Westminster Lions Club Helps Feed the Hungry
Pandemic pushed Club to apply for grants to buy groceries
When the Covid-19 pandemic spread to Maryland in March 2020 and the state went into lockdown, many people were abruptly unemployed and unable to afford groceries. The Westminster Lions Club recognized that feeding the hungry in our community suddenly became our most important mission and we pivoted our services to that goal. The Club tapped our funds that were normally earmarked for other causes and also our “rainy day fund” to help area food banks and food pantries that were being overwhelmed by needy residents. The Lions Club began delivering food and other supplies to them every week.
Coincidentally, in 2019, the Club had worked with the Community Foundation of Carroll County to become a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and in January 2020 we signed the paperwork. We wanted to get charitable tax status so we could solicit funding from companies in our community and it would be tax-deductible for them. We were really fortunate that we received our charitable status just 2 months before the Covid pandemic began. This made us eligible for grants that the federal government and foundations were offering to help people affected by the pandemic.
The Community Foundation notified the Club of a grant opportunity through a private foundation and we applied for it. We were successful in receiving $1,000 and used it to buy groceries for local food pantries. The grant enabled us to continue distributing grocery items to area food pantries and even the pet food bank at the Humane Society. Our members shopped for grocery items that were requested by these organizations for community members in need.
We then heard about the CARES grants offered by the federal government and managed by the Carroll County Office of Citizen Services. We applied for and received a $5,000 grant. In early 2021, we applied for another $5,000 grant and received it as well. We spent the money on groceries for local food pantries, residents of low-income and senior housing, and sober houses.
Then in 2022, we applied for additional CARES grant funding and this time received $12,000 to buy and distribute groceries to help those in need throughout the community. We have been working hard to identify food pantries and other organizations that need our help and working closely with them to purchase and donate food.
We now have a network of organizations that we work with to help feed the hungry. We also have a dedicated – and thrifty! – group of Lions who go grocery shopping to purchase as much as possible to help out our community.