Lions club hits the road in spring

By Anne Holzman

Members of the Falcon Heights- Lauderdale Lions Club will be out on Snelling Avenue again when the snow starts melting, picking up trash between Hoyt and Roselawn avenues as they’ve done for many years.

“Whenever it looks like there’s gonna be a nice day,” past president Paul Ciernia said. “We scoop all the interesting stuff off the snow.”

He said about 10 volunteers typically turn out, donning safety vests to make them visible to traffic.

In other civic activity, Ciernia said the club’s Christmas tree sales at Community Park have set records for a quick sellout during the two years of the pandemic.

“Both years, we sold all of our trees in eight days,” he said. “That’s never happened before.” The 2021 sale totaled 550 trees.

John Schmittdiel, the club’s current president, said the sale plus the club’s parking revenue from the State Fair enables them to grant funds to organizations in the community. The club buys dictionaries for elementary school children in Roseville and Falcon Heights, assists the block nurse program and recently helped with Ramsey County COVID relief.

About 30 percent of the club’s earnings support national and international projects.

Schmittdiel said the club has a close relationship with Roseville Area High School. A recent club meeting featured a demonstration by the school’s robotics club, which led to the Lions’ funding equipment requested by the students. The club has funded many arts and sports programs at the high school.

Schmittdiel said the school’s teams help with the Christmas tree sale. “It’s really fun. About 30 kids come out, showing off how strong they are.”

Lions Club members are recruited by current members, but Schmittdiel said they’d be happy to see a new wave of interest as they get back to in-person meetings.

Historically, club members have met at Community Park in Falcon Heights on the second and fourth Mondays of each month, with the second Monday being a business meeting and the fourth Monday more social. Recently, with the Community Park building closed and awaiting renovation, they’ve been meeting at Lauderdale City Hall.

 Information about Lions Club activities and membership can be found online at http://fhllions.org. 

Anne Holzman, a Twin Cities freelance writer, covers Lauderdale government news for the Bugle.

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