Efforts continue to resurrect Sackville Lions Club

Published on March 14, 2017

Lions International

SACKVILLE, N.B. – Efforts to breathe new life into the recently-disbanded Sackville Lions Club are reaching a critical point.

After more than 50 years of service to the local community, members of the former Sackville Lions Club sold their building and turned in the club’s charter last June, citing a declining membership and dwindling community support as the main reasons for doing so. At that time, with the money from the sale of the building added to the club’s remaining funds, the Lions handed out more than $47,000 to various groups – including local sports associations, the Lions Foundation, air cadets, the hospital foundation’s 2016 fundraising campaign, and many more.

Do you need a Lions Club here? Definitely. There’s always a need for a Lions Club. Reg House

Shortly after the former club closed its doors, however, a group of area residents came forward seeking new members to help resurrect the local service organization.

Currently spearheading the campaign to get the new club off the ground is Reg House, president of the Riverview Lions Club.

House said they have until the end of April to attract the 10 members required to have the club’s charter re-instated. House is currently working with four area residents to attract new members.

When Sackville’s former club disbanded, long-time member Fred Melanson estimated they had doled out more than $1 million to worthy causes throughout the years.

Those benefitting from the former club’s efforts included the Sackville Memorial Hospital Foundation, the local air cadet squadron, the Bob Edgett boxing club, the Children’s Wish Foundation, the diabetes association, Christmas Cheer, the Lions Foundation Dog Guides, local music festivals, as well as families who needed a helping hand in times of need, among many others.

House said his own club in Riverview is currently the second largest in the district, boasting 86 members who also make a significant contribution to the community they serve, something he would like to see return to Sackville.

“Do you need a Lions Club here? Definitely. There’s always a need for a Lions Club. And the Lions Club itself, they look for a need in the community. And one of the first things we’d do at this point, if re-activated, is do a community assessment.”

House explained this would involve circulating flyers and seeking public input as to what is needed in the Sackville area.

But, he cautioned, the key to the local club’s success would be to have area residents involved.

“It is necessary to have community residents involved,” he stressed, “because they’re the ones who know what you need.”

After already speaking to several area residents, House said one area he feels they could focus on immediately would be offering support to youth in the area, especially those aged 12-14 years.

Although they have had trouble attracting the 10 members needed to form the new club, House said once that hurdle has been surpassed he is confident the club will naturally expand from there.

“Once people see it in operation, I think the membership will climb,” he explained. “That’s what generally happens.”

The original Sackville Lions Club was chartered on May 30, 1963, with 25 members, under the sponsorship of the Amherst Lions Club. In its heyday, the local club boasted 40 members.

To join the new Sackville Lions Club or for more information, contact House at 506-389-3848 or by e-mail at rhouse@bellaliant.net.