(Haida Gwaii Observer/File photo)

Lions Club pride to shine at 50th anniversary

Masset Haida Lions to host free BBQ lunch at Howard Phillips Community Hall on Saturday

The Masset Haida Lions are celebrating their 50th anniversary on Saturday, and for just one day there really is such a thing as a free lunch.

But before the Lions serve hot dogs, burgers, and free ice cream at the Howard Phillips Community Hall, they will start the day with an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast that is, in Lions’ tradition, a community fundraiser.

For $10 per adult, $5 per child, and $25 per family, people can eat their fill of pancakes while supporting the girls volleyball team at Gudgangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay.

Breakfast runs from 7 to 10 a.m., lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and there will be live entertainment, including naughty nonni comedy duo Five Colours.

Lions President Josh Smith said the club is still doing today what it did best back in 1968 — giving back to the community, and helping people get to know each other.

“A lot of faces have come through the Masset Haida Lions,” Smith said.

Best known for their annual telethon, the Lions also recognize a Citizen of the Year, run a summer fishing derby, an elders’ Christmas dinner, and have fundraised heavily for equipment at the Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital as well as for helping high school sports teams travel off-island.

“The whole community gets behind us with the telethon, which is awesome,” said Smith, noting that there can be 50 to 60 volunteers on the day.

What community members might not see is that the Lions also help families with flood and fire relief, and with off-island stays at the Easter Seal House in Vancouver, which is for people visiting family receiving medical care.

The Lions also help people with getting wheelchairs, provide student bursaries, and last year they bought new AEDs for the firehall.

A number of key Lions Club members have had to move off island in the last year or so, said Smith, so they are down to 10 members when they would like to have 30.

“We do want to recruit some new blood. We’d like to see good representation of the different communities as well,” he said, adding that it would be great to have a mix from Old Massett, Masset, Tow Hill, and also from Port Clements if possible.

Lions Club members meet on the first and third Tuesday of the month in the upstairs Lions Den at the Howard Phillips Community Hall.

Anyone who would like to join the club or nominate someone for a Citizen of the Year award can either speak with a Lion they know or email mhlionsclub@gmail.com.

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