How giving small is making big impacts

If a single vote can change the course of an election, and we’ve seen that it can, could a single contribution make a worthwhile difference to someone you may not even know?

The New Milford Lions Club, known locally for popular events such as senior picnics and holiday parties and for funding vital eye exams for school children, among other public works, has an answer to that question.

Yes. Yes, a single, singular, no-matter-how-small contribution can absolutely have an impact on the well-being of a person in need. And the club can prove it.

The funds raised by members of the club not only pay for community-wide outings and for the days of eye care testing and education that fulfills one of the club’s missions, it also goes to requests from community institutions and from individuals.

Here are some of the small gifts that could have important impacts in the New Milford area:

Bringing up leaders

The gift of $150 about a year ago purchased ad space in the program for a basketball challenge between New Milford High School and the police department. The donation benefited the high school’s Future Business Leaders of America club and answered a Lions Club International mission to aid and support youth.

A $40 donation supported the New Milford High School Marching Band for a band program ad.

Advancing education

Each year the club offers a four-year scholarship to one student. It is not a full scholarship, but it might be the difference for the family of one student worrying about affording expenses for post-high school education.

Advancing peace

The Lions helped sponsor the Lions Clubs International annual Peace Poster Contest for middle-schoolers, and a $50 gift certificate for the Village Center for the Arts was awarded to the winner.

A computer crisis

The club answered a need for the repair of iPads used by two brothers with learning difficulties who used the tablet computer for lessons and homework. The news of the $150 voucher was followed by a heartfelt response, emphasizing the club had no “idea how much this means to us.”

A medical crisis

Some gifts may truly mean solvency, or even life or death to a family, to an individual. With that perspective, the New Milford Lions Club sent a $1,000 donation to the “Find Brian a New Heart” GoFundMe page.

New Milford Ambulance Corp. was presented a $100 donation, and purchased glasses for several people in need.

The nurture of body and mood

The club helps answer the needs of social services, and social workers keep the club apprised of what those needs are.

The Lions’ Snack and Lunch Bag program helped feed up to 100 children weekly at the summer camp programs; the club’s Uplifting Cards project provided cards to be sent to various individuals throughout the community; and the Lions collected and delivered more than 120 pairs of socks to the New Milford homeless shelter and New Milford Social Services for use when the cold weather hit this winter.

Every gift, be it dollars or time

The charitable act of giving to your neighbor, your town, your friend or a stranger is one of intent. If you intend to help, there is always a way to give — hours, funds, talents, skills, knowledge.

An individual doesn’t have to change an election to make a difference. The Lions club Facebook page is replete with grateful people whose lives are a bit better than before the Lions saw a need and addressed it.

Each small gift of time or dollars, like each large one, made a change for the better in someone’s life. Each club member is grateful for the chance to support that change and rewarded by satisfaction when it occurs.

Big or small, change for the better is the intent at New Milford Lions Club and if it is yours, we’d like to meet you.

Maredith Spector is the secretary for the local Lions Club.