In 1934, when the Williamsburg Lions club was chartered, only men were permitted to join the organization. Women had been banned from Lions Club membership at the inaugural convention in 1917 because at that time women were not leaders in the business world. That did not stop the spouses of Lions members from participating. They worked side by side with the members during fund raisers and charity projects. Several years later in 1948, a few of the Lions members suggested to their wives that they should organize a women's auxiliary. Shortly after hearing the suggestion eleven women met at the King and Kay Tea Room to discuss organizing a Lions Women's Auxiliary. Their first officers were installed at Lion Faber and Betty Mershon's home in Gloucester with Betty installed as the club's first president.
The Lady Lions first fund raiser was a booth at the Lions Club Jamboree selling hot dogs, hamburgers, soft drinks, and coffee. Little did they know that the fellowship they were creating at that event was the beginning of 68 years of friendships and memories. The ladies followed that fundraising event by helping the Lions at their new fundraiser - Bingo. The ladies managed the refreshment stand.
Since those two fundraisers, the Lady Lions have held a variety of small fundraisers to include, bake sales, rummage sales, coloring book sales and selling some handcrafted items.
For many years, the major fundraiser for the Lady Lions was providing a meal to the Lions. That started with the Lions Blind Made Products sale and continued with the annual President's dinner at the Dominion Va. Power Activities building. For many years, the President's Dinner was known for being the highest attended Lions meeting of the year. Why the high attendance? It sure wasn't the speaker because we didn't have one most of the time, but the meal the Lions were served was always the best! A good Lion knows where to get a good meal! Let's not forget " Sharing our Favorites" , a 2003 collection of recipes by Lady Lions and Friends.
How did the Williamsburg Lady Lions support the community? Beginning in the early years, the ladies would do simple projects such as providing coffee for the patients at Eastern State Hospital, donating food baskets to the poor, filling Christmas stockings for Eastern State Hospital to some more costly projects such as sponsoring a Williamsburg area girls softball league, donating a cardiopulmonary unit for Williamsburg Community Hospital and creating a high school scholarship program called "Financial Assistance to a Capable Student entering College. Most recently the Lady Lions have donated to FISH, Hospice House, Salvation Army, and Avalon - a home for abused women and children. Twice a year, the Lady Lions also coordinated a group to go to ENVOY to play bingo with the residents. Each person playing would be provided prize with most taking multiple prizes back to their room.
After 68 years of supporting our Lions club and the Williamsburg community, the Lady Lions have retired their club, but they will always be a part Williamsburg Host Lions Club. Our community and the Williamsburg Host Lions club are better because of their dedication and commitment to make us better than we were yesterday. Thank You!
Williamsburg Host Lions
Picture- Williamsburg Lady Lions
L to R- Jeanette Jones,Peggy Brown,Carol Linville, Judy Bowmer, Elsie West, Jeanne Gale, Joyce Hunt, Rose Marie Kostoff, Carolyn Mershon, Lucy Ringler, Margaret Dawson, Jane Gustafson,Peggy Orr. Not pictured, Mary Corbin, Audrey Riley Barbara Van Wormer.
Posted by: Judy Bowmer
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