In addition to our regular monthly meetings (4th Monday of the month) and our board meetings, we undertake projects in three major categories: service, fundraising, and social activities. We provide service to fulfill our mission as a service organization. We fundraise so that we can support other worthy charities in our area (see Who We Support.) We socialize to build cohesiveness in our club and to meet new members of the community. All social activities are paid for by the members alone, no funds raised from the community are used.
For many years our club has participated in the Adopt-A-Road program in Montgomery County. Our stretch is Ednor Rd. between New Hampshire Ave. and Norwood Rd (near the old Red Door Country Store.) A team of normally between 4 and 12 lions pick up garbage and beautify the road six times a year, winter, spring, summer, and fall.
Also bimonthly, we partner with the Red Cross to put on our Blood Drives. Held alternately at Sandy Spring Bank in Olney and Ashton United Methodist Church, we typically collect 25-40 pints of blood every other month. Many of our members take pride in the gallons of blood they have donated over the years and also their ability to participate in the Double Red platelet collection program.
Our club sponsors over 20 collection boxes for our Eyeglass Collection project. Glasses that are collected by all Lions in our district go to a central processing location where they are cleaned, sorted according to prescription, and prepared for shipment to areas where they are needed.
In addition to collecting eyeglasses, we also provide support for individuals in our community who need eyeglass prescriptions and eyeglasses but can’t afford them.
The Hospital Equipment program provides wheelchairs, hospital beds, walkers, potty chairs, crutches, and other such items to people in our community who are need of them at absolutely no cost. We also accept donations of these items. We normally are delivering or picking up items multiple times per week.
Lions from our club volunteer to help direct the participants in Joe’s Ride in Olney. This 45-K bicycle race winds its way around Olney and the surrounding communities and they need helpers to make sure the racers can find the route and safely interacting with traffic on the roads.
To support the youth of our community and foster a spirit of volunteerism we sponsor Leo Clubs at Farquhar Middle School and Sherwood High School. Leos are students with a passion for volunteer working and bettering their school and our surrounding community.
We sponsor the Lions Peace Poster Contest at Farquhar Middle School and Sandy Spring Friends School. In the context of their art classes, local students design and create a piece of artwork in one of a variety of mediums: including charcoal, crayon, pencil and paint, to express the theme for that year. This is a worldwide contest with winners at the local, district, multiple district, and international level.
As a district 22-C project, lions, including some from our club, march every year in the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C.
Every year, our club does hearing and vision screenings at the Montgomery County Fair. The Mobile Health Unit is manned by a different club every day of the week, and our day is normally Tuesday, which happens to be senior day at the fair. We also often perform hearing and vision screenings as a club project.
We assist the Medstar Montgomery Medical Center Women’s Board when they put on their Annual Picnic and Bazaar. The Lions help first, in association with the Olney Lions Club and Our House, by putting up all the tents and fencing the Saturday before. We do corn shucking and corn cooking the day of the event, and we also take down all the tents and store them for the next year that night. This is an all hands event that we are very proud to be able to do for the community.
Several lions construct and ride in a float for the Olney Days Parade every year in May.
The Sandy Spring Lions Club is responsible for upkeep and maintenance of the Sandy Spring, the original spring that the town is named after. While the spring is owned by the Sandy Spring Museum, Lions maintain the grounds. Several Eagle Scout projects have made improvements to the spring area in previous years, which are generally also at least partially sponsored by our club.
In addition to spring maintenance, we also partner with the Sandy Spring Museum on other projects. This past winter they housed the Olney Farmer’s Market and we assisted with that by directing traffic and helping to park cars. We also did a spring cleanup day the the Museum, helping out with some of their grounds maintenance.
We also are in charge of putting up and taking down signs, tents, and tables at the Museum’s annual Strawberry Festival in July.
Our first fundraiser of the year is serving Ice Cream at the Montgomery County Fair. The Lions Ice Cream Parlor is along the main strip at the fairgrounds close to the animal barns. Each day of the fair, a different Lions Club runs the parlor. Sandy Spring traditionally has served ice cream on Wednesdays during fair week.
Throughout the fall we are running our Travel Raffle. Local community members can purchase tickets for $10 for a chance to win a Hawaii Vacation for two (or other prizes) from Life’s a Trip travel agency in Burtonsville. The raffle drawing is usually the fourth Monday in October.
In December we set up our Christmas Tree lot. We normally unload the trees the weekend after Thanksgiving and run the lot every weekend until Christmas. The lot is located on the hospital grounds owned by Medstar Montgomery Medical Center, near the corner of Rte. 108 and Prince Philip Drive in Olney. We also have a team of Lions working on wreaths to sell at the lot.
In both the spring and the fall we spend a week doing White Cane Vision Days. Local grocery store chains Giant and Safeway allow us to spend the week soliciting for funds near their entrances. Our mantra on these days is “Help the Lions Help the Blind” and this is an all-hands project.
Our final fundraiser of the year is our Golf Outing, an 18 hole tournament that takes place at Willow Springs Golf Course in West Friendship, Maryland.
We also are happy to accept donations. Many of our donations come in from recipients of our Medical Equipment program. Members of the community also sometimes leave bequests or donate in memory of friends who have recently passed away.
Lastly, our club took the lead in developing and assisted in guiding the Lions Club International Century of Service Commemorative Coin project. This project, which raises funds for Lions Club International, was the idea of Lions Alan Ballard and Meredith “Brother” Pattie, longtime active members of our club. Due to their hard work, an act of congress has been passed and signed by the President that specifies that a coin shall be minted honoring the 100th anniversary of the founding of Lions in 2017.
The members always love to get together with spouses and friends at the annual picnic and potluck. This event has all the things you love in a summer picnic: grilling, horseshoes, picnic tables, and great food brought in by the Lions themselves.
The club also organizes an annual Winter Theatre Event. In the past we have attended performances at either the Olney Theatre (where light refreshments and wine were served) or Toby’s Dinner Theatre in Columbia.
We have our annual Charter Night, which is held in June and celebrates the anniversary of the founding of our club. The new officers for the year are installed at this event. The old King Lion gets a chance to thank the members and give out awards for the work done in that year and the new King Lion gets to set the agenda for the coming year.
Many members also attend other Lions District and Multiple District events, such as 22-C Night, where the District honors the District Governor, the Multiple District 22 Convention, where all the Lions of Maryland, DC, and Delaware get together to perform district business, and other Lions region, zone, and district events where business meetings can be mixed with social exchanges.