A very big THANK YOU to all Lions and Leos throughout Multiple District 410 who contributed so generously towards the Knysna Fires Disaster Relief Efforts.


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12 June 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LIONS AID DISASTER VICTIMS IN KNYSNA
SOUTHERN CAPE REGION

Where there’s a need, there’s a Lion – this slogan has proven itself to be so appropriate following the devastating fires and wind storms which recently hit the Southern Cape Region.

Lions are continually involved in disaster relief efforts around the world. The Lions ALERT program strives to provide specific direction to the 46,000 Lions clubs and help them to be more efficient in providing short and long term support to disaster victims.

The objective of the Lions ALERT Program is to develop a plan of action in case of a Level One (affecting a few people), Level Two (affecting a community) or Level Three emergency (affecting hundreds or thousands of people in a region).

When news of the fires in Knysna was released, Lions Clubs from all over Southern Africa, and the even the world responded. In a matter of minutes support started to roll in by way of resources and financial assistance, so that the Lions Clubs from Knysna, Sedgefield, George and Eden could mobilise their Level Three emergency relief plans. Lions members and affiliates immediately became involved by way of providing firefighting assistance, information dissemination, community and corporate resource requests, as well as sorting and distributing products to both victims and firefighters.

The first reports of the fires came in on 7 June 2017, which happens to be the same day that Lions Clubs International was formed, exactly 100 years ago, in 1917. The organisation was established by Businessman Melvin Jones from Chicago USA, who, at age 38, asked the question; "What if these men, who are successful because of their drive, intelligence and ambition, were to put their talents to work improving their communities?" Thus, at his invitation, delegates from men's clubs met in Chicago to lay the groundwork for such an organization and on June 7, 1917, Lions Clubs International was born. In 1987 the constitution of Lions Clubs International was amended to allow for women to become members and the organisation has now grown to be the largest service organisation in the world, with 1.45 million volunteer members who serve in 46 000 Lions clubs located in over 200 countries worldwide.

The Knysna fires disaster resulted in many tons of food, clothing and other supplies being trucked into the region to aid victims; but also resulted in large financial contributions which will be used to support the relief efforts. To date, over R835 000 has been received for this purpose; with contributions from Lions Clubs International Foundation USA ($10 000), Miss SA Trust (R196 000); Henties Bay Lions Club in Namibia (R200 000) forming some of the larger donors.

Always being on the front line of disasters, Lions are all too aware of the effect their volunteered time has on those who receive their selfless aid. This week’s fires and wind storms were no exception … they were there to console when young firefighter hero Bradley Richards lost his life, to see the tears in the eyes of the emergency helicopter pilot as he told the stories of what he saw from above, to hug and listen to the heart wrenching stories of those who walked away from their homes with nothing more than the clothes they were wearing, to carry a resident’s dog to safety and of course, to accept the bag of marbles donated at a collection point by a 6 year old who couldn’t help but think of the other children who have lost everything! There are MANY more stories to be told …

It is said by members of the organisation that Lions serve with pride – the response from Lions around the world and the community who support their continuous efforts has certainly proven that this organisation and its members make a significant impact on their communities, and can indeed be proud of their achievements over the last 100 years.

 

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