Everyone knows what the local Lions club does, but the work of the St. Davids Lioness seems less well-known, says this year’s president.
Jo-Anne Brytwak, actually in her third year as president, says for a small group of about 25 members, “we do a lot of work.”
The club, which celebrated its 40th anniversary, still has two of the original members, she says, but some have passed on and others have health issues or have moved out of the district.
Membership is declining, but with the number of new residents in St. Davids, Brytwak would like to see that change.
In addition to the good they do for the community, “we have a lot of fun. You get to meet a lot of great ladies, and not just from our own club. We go to events and participate in functions of other clubs as well, and each year we have the opportunity to go to the Lion and Lioness convention, which is great fellowship.”
More members would mean spreading out the work and being able to do more, and raise more money for the community, she says.
At the moment, members are preparing for the Lioness contribution to the annual St. Davids Carnival, which runs next week from Wednesday, July 24 to Saturday, July 27.
The Lioness organize and run one of the games booths. Brytwak was hard-pressed to come up with a name for the game they look after, but it’s a lot of fun, she said.
The Lioness collect all-new prizes to be given away. They fold up squares of paper with numbers on them, and participants choose a cup with a number of squares — it varies according to price, starting at 35 squares for $2 – and then unfold them to see if they’ve won a prize.
“People get so excited hoping to win, but really, it’s not about the prizes. Everyone is happy to play, knowing they’re helping out a good cause. And they have fun with the squares,” she says.
This isn’t the only fundraiser for the Lioness. They hold bazaars twice a year, help the Lions with their Harvest Breakfast, volunteer at Delta Bingo for a share of the proceeds, and still prepare dinner for Lions’ monthly meetings.
They also organize a fun Christmas Breakfast with Santa. It’s not intended to be a fundraiser — it’s about doing something for local kids at Christmas, says Brytwak. Adults have to be accompanied by a child, and each child gets a gift. Last year they had more than 100 people attend, she says.
This year, they are organizing Christmas carolling throughout some of the new subdivisions in St. Davids in an effort to meet more people, and possibly attract new members.
Over the years, the Lioness have raised enough money for 12 dog guides, at $10,000 to $12,000 each, either for the blind or for children with autism, she says.
As a cancer survivor, Brytwak is passionate about supporting Wellspring Niagara, and the club makes a financial donation every year as well as supplying some of the “little items” that are required, such as toiletries.
The Lioness also support Women’s Place, Project Share, several of the Lions projects and individuals in the community who need help.
For more information about joining call Brytwak at 905-262-4989.