The Melrose Lions Club recently made a donation to the Mayor’s Emergency Relief Fund in memory of one its members, the late Frank Zinck. According to its President, Kevin Erb, “it was Frank’s idea a couple of years ago to revise our annual Holiday Party Yankee Swap. In prior years, we would spend our own money for gifts to swap at the party. Frank suggested that instead of buying gifts for ourselves, we donate that money to this fund. It was typical Frank and it was immediately endorsed and stands today as a testimony to the generosity of this man. (We still have the Yankee swap- using re-gifts (you know the ugly tie, horrendous sweater)- it’s very funny. As such, it just seemed natural for the club to follow Frank’s lead and to donate this year in his honor.”
It is also essential that a community has people like Frank and volunteer organizations willing to serve its citizens. The Melrose Lions Club is now in its 90th year of service to this wonderful city. Of course, the Melrose Lions Club is part of the Lions Club International, the world’s largest service club organization, with 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs, acting on the same simple idea: let’s improve our communities. For years the Lions Club has been associated with eradicating blindness and Helen Keller, who challenged Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.” However, since then, while still working tirelessly to aid the blind and visually impaired, Lions clubs throughout the world are responding to the needs of their individual communities. The Lions Mission Statement states simply, “To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding…” In addition, Lions Club International was one of the first nongovernmental organizations invited to assist in the drafting of the United Nations Charter and has supported the work of the UN ever since.
The Melrose Lions Club, consists of people like Frank Zinck, people who know that it is not always enough to write out a check (although they are always grateful for donations). Sometimes, somebody has to show up, roll up their sleeves and do the actual work. This is where you could always find Frank, where there was work to be done Frank would be the first to volunteer (usually followed by his very distinctive chuckle).
Unfortunately, the passing of Frank leaves the club with a void that has been hard to replace. If you are of a mind that you would like to help in this community, please contact the Melrose Lions Club or any of the other service clubs and offer to “roll up your sleeves”. Of course, some people want to help but are concerned that they don’t know what to do so they do nothing. They don’t require any experience or training. Others might wonder what does one get out of this experience. Let me give you a recent example. Sometimes when it looks like the world is an ugly, evil place, it helps to look again. According to a current member, “at a recent high school basketball game, where the Lions Club operates the concession stand, I got a chance to ‘look again.’ A woman and her young son approached me to pay for their items. The boy had a five dollar bill and was mistakenly trying to put it into our donation jar. When I told his mother that it was actually six dollars but that we would be happy to accept her son’s donation, she gave me a twenty dollar bill and told me to keep the change! I was stunned at her generosity but it gets better, much better. I had four boys standing there (one purchasing, the others hoping to share in the popcorn). I told them I needed a minute (both to grasp the significance of the gesture and to put her change ($14.00) into the donation jar). While I was doing this, one of the young boys asked about the donation jar. After explaining what was the purpose of the jar, I informed them of all the different ways that the money would be put to use, describing the different charities both in Melrose and around the world providing relief to people suffering. When I finished my explanation, the young man took his change and placed all of it in the donation jar. That was just the beginning. Apparently, those kids told their friends and all night long, young children were dropping their change into the donation jar! It was one of the most gratifying moments that I have experienced as a Lion! ”
So, if you would like to experience moments like these, moments that many have had the distinct pleasure of sharing with Frank Zinck, please consider contacting a local community organization, and “roll up your sleeves.” For information on joining the Melrose Lions Club, contact President Kevin Erb at 662-6930.