Elk Grove Lions Club History
The Elk Grove Lions Club, sponsored by Fort Sutter Lions Club and North Sacramento Lions Club, was chartered on March 12, 1951. The charter night dinner was held April 27, 1951, with 38 charter members. Dinners were $1.75, initiation fee was $10.00 and dues were $1.00 per month. Today we have about 50 members and the annual dues are $100 and our dinner meetings cost $10.
Some of the early projects the club accomplished were: sponsored Boy Scout Troop 59 in 1951, purchased and installed lights at Elk Grove High School football stadium, along with constructing a press box at the stadium 1954. The club currently sponsors a Brownie Troop, Cub Scout Pack, Boy Scout Troop, a Venture Crew and Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H.
In 1955 the Lions built a baseball backstop for the Elk Grove Park diamond, and built bike racks, sidewalks, and round slabs at Jessie Baker School.
In the early 1960s, the Lions started selling fireworks. Some of the proceeds the sales were used for a Fourth of July fireworks display in Elk Grove Park. Also in the ’60s the Club became involved in the Soap Box Derby with regional finals being held in Elk Grove. Brett and Curt Yarborough brought derby fame to Elk Grove in the ’70s by winning national titles in Elk Grove Village, Illinois.
In 1965 the club purchased their first cooking utensil, a stainless steel pot for $7.00. They began cooking their own dinners at the Native Sons Hall. The members still cook for their dinner meetings at the Senior Center; and the club has an extensive inventory of cooking utensils and built a BBQ trailer. Elk Grove Lions have cooked tons of chicken, steaks, tri-tip, ribs, pasta, and pancakes for area high schools, 4-H, FFA, Project Ride, Elk Grove Community Services District, youth baseball, Elk Grove Regional Scholarship Program, Elk Grove Senior Center, and many other groups.
The Elk Grove Lions held their first crab feed in 1978, selling 125 tickets. Today they have one crab feed a year in Elk Grove, selling 200-300 tickets. For several years they held a joint Elk Grove-Galt Lions crab feed in Galt, along with cooking for the Zone crab feed. Crab feeds for Laguna Creek, Sheldon, Franklin and Pleasant Grove High School Booster Clubs, and the Guns & Hoses have been added in the past several years.
The club sponsored a Diabetic Day Camp, donates to and delivers flowers for the Cancer Society Daffodil Days, purchase eyeglasses and hearing aids for the needy children and adults, and have held Lions Student Speaker Contests since 1960. Annually Elk Grove Lions participate in community parades, the Western Festival and the Christmas Light Parade, providing traffic control, bingo and beer booths, and award plaques.
Through the years Elk Grove Lions have installed sidewalks, painted houses, built wheelchair ramps, bike ramps, a horse arena, cleaned yards, renovated the Project Ride horse barn, built the Strauss Island bridge, a scout storage shed, and sponsored youth baseball teams.
In their service to the Elk Grove community, 14 Elk Grove Lions and 1 Pride of Laguna Creek Lion has been honored as the Elk Grove Citizen of the Year, six members have received Chamber of Commerce Service Awards, and nine members have had community parks dedicated in their names. In addition to being Lions, several members participate and hold or have held key positions in other organizations including the Historical Society, Chamber of Commerce, Elks Club, Elk Grove Fire Department, Sheriff’s Possee, Project Ride, Elk Grove Community Foundation, Elk Grove Senior Center, American Cancer Society, Western Festival, Strauss Festival, Boy Scouts, Elk Grove Food Bank, Elk Grove Youth Sports Foundation, Running of the Elk, Elk Grove Run For Hunger, Habitat for Humanity, and Sacramento County Fair Board.
Just a few short years ago, the Lions Clubs joined with other service clubs to raise funds for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Together, we were able to send about $13,000 to them.
During the past year, the Club has raised nearly $35,000 and contributed over 2,400 man-hours for community and charity. Since 1951 Elk Grove Lions, through various projects, have donated over one million dollars for worthy causes, almost all of it in the Elk Grove community.
Both Lions Clubs regularly join with the other service clubs in Elk Grove, such as the Rotary, Optimists, Kiwanis and Soroptimists to raise funds to support our community.
The Elk Grove Lions are the host club for Galt Lions Club, chartered in 1963; and Pride of Laguna Creek Lions Club, chartered in 1992.
District 4-C5 has recognized the club with multiple community service awards; and thirty + members have been named Melvin Jones Fellow. Elk Grove has provided eleven zone chairmen, three regional chairmen, and three past District Governors. Past District Governor Andy Anderson, past District Governor Gary Dapelo and past District Governor Mel Oneto.
In July 2017, the club selected its first woman to lead the club as the Club President. Congratulations to Lion Sharon Mika. We will have our second woman president in 2022.
The members of the Elk Grove Lions Club are proud to be a part of Elk Grove and having the opportunity to help their community and mankind. “WE SERVE”.
by Lion Andy Anderson