The Sumner Lions Club is gearing up for another school year full of service activities and volunteer opportunities, and is hoping to expand its numbers while doing so.
“It’s been a struggle. A small community and a small club,” said Norm Wilcox, the most recent past president of the club. “Right now our goal is to get some more members. Younger, stronger members.”
The Lions Club International is, like its name suggests, an international service organization that performs numerous services for communities. The club is most well-known for collecting glasses for those who can’t afford their own pair and financing hearing aids for those with hearing issues.
Clubs also organize food and clothing drives, disaster relief funds and children’s programs.
The Sumner club is no different and, despite its small size of 18 members, helps out Sumner residents and other communities where there is need.
One of the larger projects the Sumner club is involved in is Project New Hope Northwest, a retreat for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and their families.
According to Sue Bogner, a Sumner Lion who became a member through volunteering with a New Hope Northwest retreat, vets and their spouses can attend the camp to learn more about PTSD and how it can affect them and their families while kids enjoy camp activities.
The program is free to veterans.
“It’s a fairly new project… and we dove into it pretty strongly,” Wilcox said.
“It really makes a difference,” Bogner added.
With the school year approaching, the club is also organizing donations to go toward Sumner School District students.
Donations come often in the form of back-to-school supplies, nonperishable food, hygiene kits and glasses for students and their families who struggle financially or are homeless.
Wilcox said the Sumner Lions Club works hand-in-hand with the Sumner School District Family Center to organize these donations.
The club is also involved in Camp Leo, a summer camp for kids with diabetes.
“They do everything a normal kid would do at camp – swimming, canoeing, hiking, archery, but they also learn how to administer their insulin and, the big thing is, the other campers are just like them,” Wilcox said. “They’re not alone.”
Striving for nonprofit status
Unlike the Bonney Lake Lions Club, the Sumner club has yet to obtain its own 501(c)3 status.
That’s not to say that money that flows through the club doesn’t go where it’s supposed to – Bogner said that when the club holds fundraisers, 100 percent of the money raised goes toward a cause rather than to the club.
Money that the club uses on itself comes from its members and not the public, she continued.
The reason the Sumner chapter isn’t a registered nonprofit, Wilcox said, is because the club’s lack of resources.
“We need a fairly good size fundraiser, ongoing, to really have a need to be a 501(c)3. But that’s just me,” Wilcox said. “We’re not quite big enough. At one point, we may. We’re looking into it now.”
The Sumner Lions Club’s next fundraiser, Beer, Brats and Bingo, starts at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6, at VanLierop’s Garden Market.
Tickets to the event cost $10.
The club is also holding a rummage sale at the Sumner Senior Center Aug. 12 and 13.
The club meets on the first and third Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Sumner Veterans of Foreign Wars post 3070 at 1705 Willow St.
Those who want to volunteer for specific events or want more information about becoming a member can call the Sumner Lions Club office at 206-261-2649 or email the club’s membership chairman Emerson Bishop at firstname.lastname@example.org.