Serving the Community and Those Less Fortunate
Chesterfield Lions Club members work hard to carry out their mission “to create and foster a spirit of understanding among all people for humanitarian needs by providing voluntary services through community involvement and international cooperation.”
The club first began in 1953 when a small group of businessmen got together and decided that they wanted to form a Lions Club in Chesterfield, said Connie Farkas, the group’s president.
Elmer Weinrich, secretary of the club, said that, at the time, Lion J. Henry Maize from the Creve Coeur Lions Club organized the Chesterfield Club.
“There were 26 charter members installed on Dec. 11, 1953,” Weinrich said. All Lions are also members of Lions International, headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill.
“Lions began with an idea of our founder, Melvin Jones, in 1917 and has grown to the largest
service club in the world with over 1,404,000 members in over 46,700 clubs in over 210 countries and geographic areas,” Weinrich said.
The local club is composed of men and women living or working in the St. Louis area.
“Current members were all invited to join because a Lion thought they would be an asset to the Chesterfield Lions Club in their service to the community, their country and Lions International,” Weinrich said.
The club now has 26 members who work together to host activities such as an annual Christmas tree lot and a barbecue.
Their Board of Directors meets at 7 pm, on the fourth Monday of each month, at a designated member’s home, said Weinrich, whose wife Janet is also a club member.
Club membership meetings are held at 7:30 pm on the second Monday of each month at the Old Spaghetti Factory at 17384 Chesterfield Airport Road. A social hour starts at 6:30 pm, followed by an ala carte dinner at 7 pm. There usually is a guest speaker at each meeting.
The Lions’ emblem is unique; it features a gold letter “L” on a circular purple field, Weinrich said. Surrounding this field are two Lion profiles facing away from the center.
“The Lions face both past and future – showing both pride of heritage and confidence in the future,” he said. “On top of the emblem is the word ‘Lion ’and on the bottom the word ‘International’ is inscribed. The colors purple and gold are the official colors of Lions. Purple stands for loyalty to friends and for integrity of mind and heart. Gold symbolizes sincerity of purpose, as well as liberality in judgement, purity in life and generosity in mind, heart and purse to those in need,” said Weinrich.
The Lions’ slogan is “Liberty, Intelligence, Our Nation’s Safety,” and the Lions’ motto is “We Serve.”
“The Chesterfield Lions have taken the Lions motto ‘We Serve’ to heart,” Weinrich said. “Thousands of hours are volunteered each year to raise money for various projects. Lions meetings, operational expenses, newsletters and even parties are funded from dues and from Lions’ pockets so all monies raised through work at various events or fund raisers are given back to the community or specific charities and projects.”
In May of this year, at their public event, the Chesterfield Lions’ barbecue skills created a fundraising effort of close to $3,000.
“Each year, we sponsor a Christmas tree lot which has been located on the Four Seasons parking lot located on Olive Boulevard, just west of Highway 141,” Weinrich said. “Over the years the club has given to many organizations in the St. Louis area, including St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf, Wings of Hope, Circle of Concern, Lafayette Industries, the Good Shepard School, the Chesterfield Veterans Honor Park and many others.”
Donations to special causes or organizations are considered on an individual basis and vary from year-to-year. This past year, more than $5,800 was given to local organizations. The group sponsors collection boxes for used eye glasses at Dierbergs Markets and other locations in the area.
“Chesterfield Lions, along with Lions around the world, provide glasses to many in impoverished countries,” Weinrich said. “There are many stories of people walking many miles to receive glasses from the Lions and being able to see their loved ones clearly for the first time.”
Chesterfield Lions have collected more than 18,000 pairs of glasses that were sent to various foreign countries.
“Whatever the project or the need, the Chesterfield Lions will continue to have fun and enjoy themselves as they work to help the community and those less fortunate than themselves,” Weinrich said.
Connie Farkas, the club’s president, praised local people who help them out. “If it weren’t for the growing support from the Chesterfield community, the Lions Club would not be where they are today,” she said.
New members are always welcome.
Those interested in finding out more information about the Chesterfield Lions Club, joining or guest speaking at an upcoming meeting can call 314.378.4758 or email email@example.com.