Jaffrey Lions Club seeks new members, revitalization

  • Rich Comeau of Jaffrey, a member of the Jaffrey-Rindge Lions Club, organizes donations to prepare for the town-wide yard sale this weekend. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Rich Comeau of Jaffrey, and Will Phillips of Jaffrey, members of the Jaffrey-Rindge Lions Club, organizes donations to prepare for the town-wide yard sale this weekend.(Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Rich Comeau of Jaffrey, center, and Brenda Salmonson of Peterborough and Jim Van Campen of Jaffrey, organize donations to prepare for the Jaffrey-Rindge Lions Club’s participation in the Jaffrey town-wide yard sale this weekend. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Jaffrey-Rindge Lions Club organizes donations to prepare for the town-wide yard sale this weekend. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/21/2017 6:58:27 PM

“There are many people who don’t know what the Lions Club is really about,” said Jaffrey-Rindge Lions Club President Jim Van Campen of Jaffrey. “About three years ago, I was included in that percentage.”

At that time, said Van Campen, while he had heard of the Lions Club, there wasn’t one in Jaffrey or Rindge. There had been once, but it has dissolved several years before. It wasn’t until, by coincidence, Van Campen met with a member of one of the neighboring Lions Clubs, and began to talk to him about what exactly the organization did.

In that conversation, Van Campen learned that there was a definite need in Jaffrey — that there were more requests for assistance with obtaining eye glasses or exams – one of the main missions of the International Lions Club – than any of the towns being covered by other local clubs. 

“My whole adult life I’ve volunteered for different organizations,” said Van Campen. “That there were so many kids in need in this area spoke to me as being a way to be instantly helpful. It’s somethign to do that helps our community directly, and quickly.”

Van Campen, who is now the president of the Jaffrey-Rindge chapter of the Lions Club, helped to try to get the chapter back up off the ground, with sponsorship from the Souhegan Lions Club. After two and a half years, officially, they’re not quite there, yet. They need 20 members to become an autonomous club, and now have 13. But in terms of making that difference, said Van Campen, they’re on the right track. 

“It’s more important to the international organization to build membership, because that’s how the club works. But as far as us, locally, the people we have is enough to make a difference and do what we want to do,” said Van Campen. 

Van Campen recalled one woman, who failed a vision test while applying for a job at a local manufacturer. She came to the Lions for help paying for an eye exam and new glasses, but it was found her problem was more profound than that — her vision troubles were caused by cataracts. The Jaffrey-Rindge Lions, with help from the larger Lions organization, paid for her surgery.

“That was one of the most rewarding moments,” said Van Campen.

That’s just one example, said Van Campen. He hopes that as the club grows, he’ll have many more. 

The Jaffrey-Rindge Lions Club will have a table at the town-wide yard sale in Jaffrey this Saturday and Sunday. Look for their location in the yard sale map.

If you have interest in joining the Jaffrey-Rindge Club, contact Van Campen at 831-0314.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com.


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