This week, St. Davids Lions members would have been working at their annual carnival, welcoming visitors and raising money for the community.
Instead, club members are preparing an alternative fundraising event, hoping to engage locals and at the same time give their volunteers the connection with the public they’re craving.
While carnival regulars will be missing the summer event, they don’t have to miss out on the popular Lion burgers and fries, a draw for locals who enjoy the great food prepared by club members.
They are calling it “Welcome Back Lion Burgers,” and will be offering a meal, which includes either a burger and fries and water for $10, or the “great Canadian,” which adds peameal bacon to the burger, for $12. Pop will be available for $1..
Beginning July 31, they are offering a drive-thru, no-contact meal pickup at the Lions Park on York Road, Friday evenings, from 4 to 7 p.m.
The idea came from Lion Joe Typer, who was looking for something suitable for “COVID times” that could raise some money to give back to the community. He thought it would be fun to open the Lions’ burger stand, get the grills going and volunteers involved, and “see where it goes.” So far the response has been positive, and they are counting on a good turnout.
Lions members, says Typer, “do so much for the community. They’ve been stymied by this virus, like everyone else, but we wanted to do something positive.”
“I asked who wanted to take it on,” adds Typer, who is still working, “and Ed offered.”
Retired club member Ed Pittman has taken on the organization of the event, made more complicated by the need to keep it as risk-free as possible.
Everything from the fried onions, an essential part of a Lion burger, to the condiments, will be handed out in containers, and the club is asking for debit or credit cards for payment, although they won’t say no to cash.
They’re keeping the number of volunteers at the grills to a minimum, to allow for physical distancing, but if all goes well, they hope to have the Leo club members involved once they have all the logistics worked out. “It’s a whole new world, and we’re trying to figure out how to do everything safely,” says Pittman.
They’ve worked out the logistics of delivering the burgers so no one has to get out of their vehicle — unless they choose to. Although there will be no picnic tables, Pittman says, it’s a big property, and picnics are welcome — bring your own blankets or chairs, and be sure to leave distance between each group.
The decision to cancel the 57th annual carnival, a four-day event that would have started this Wednesday, was made in April. It was a tough call to make at the time, but turned out to be a wise and necessary decision.
Last year’s carnival contributed to the purchase of dog guides, the CNIB, Camp Trillium, for children with cancer, and Camp Dorset, which provides dialysis for children with diabetes.
The club has continued to give back to the community, but without the annual fundraiser, it has been more judicious with what could be handed out, says Pittman. The Friday night dinners will help fill the reserves.