Independence is blessed with several excellent service clubs, each in its own way dedicated to making our local communities and the world better.

Independence is blessed with several excellent service clubs, each in its own way dedicated to making our local communities and the world better.

The Independence Host Lions Club is one of them and has been a fixture in Independence for more than 70 years. It is part of Lions Clubs International, a secular service organization with more than 44,500 clubs and more than 1.3 million members in 206 countries.

Lions spend a goodly portion of their energy raising money for worthy causes. Their policy is that all funds raised by Lions from the general public are used for charitable purposes. This means that all administrative, publicity or marketing costs are kept strictly separate and paid for by members.

Lions are probably best known for their work for the blind and visually impaired. That choice began when Helen Keller addressed their International Convention in 1925 and challenged Lions to be Knights of the Blind. That challenge has led Lions to develop or support numerous sight-related institutions, research or service projects around the world. By way of example, Lions were instrumental in providing aid to victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and, through coordination with their Sight First and Lions World Sight Day, have drawn world attention to the plight of sight loss in many developing nations.

For many years the Independence Host Lions Club’s most important project has been its annual Pancake Day. If pancakes and sausages aren’t your favorite meal, you can opt for freshly baked biscuits covered with yummy sausage gravy. Both options include coffee, orange juice and, for an extra 50 cents, milk. Both choices are available upon presenting a $5 ticket purchased from a local Lion or paid for at the door.  

In connection with the season, Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus will be in attendance from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Bring your camera and take as many photos as you like. And, if your children haven’t been too naughty, and know they haven’t, Santa will have something to make their attendance even more memorable.

For attendees who feel lucky, drawings for valuable prizes will be held during the day, as well as an opportunity for you to donate used eyeglasses and hearing aids for recycling and subsequent use in Third World countries.

All funds from Pancake Day will be used to sustain visual and youth related projects in Eastern Jackson County.