Where there’s a need, there’s a Lion
The Osseo Lions Club was formed by a group of businessmen in 1944 who wanted to serve the needs of their community.
In the almost 80 years since then, the club has grown and been through many changes.
I want to expand a little on who the Lions are today and what we do within the Osseo community.
We are part of the Lions Club International organization, which has more than 1.3 million members worldwide in 50,000 clubs from over 200 countries. You will often see the Lions logo at city parks, ball fields, and on highways– once you start looking for the signs, you’ll find them everywhere you travel in North America and across the globe.
Lions Club International Foundation brings funds and volunteers in times of need – from disaster relief to distributing vaccines that have all but wiped out river blindness in children. With a simple mission to serve, they provide humanitarian relief and grants to impact the health and well-being of communities everywhere. As part of this much larger organization, the Osseo Lions can serve our immediate community every day.
Here in Minnesota, the Lions helped to create and fund the Minnesota Lions Eye Bank – now known as the Lions Gift of Sight at the University of Minnesota. It is now a leading facility for corneal transplants and ophthalmology research, in addition to the eye bank. A little history on this.. the Lions were tasked with becoming “Knights for the Blind” by none other than Helen Keller in 1925 when she spoke at the Lions International Convention.
Because of this, eyesight has been a core focus of the international organization – along with those areas that go along with eye health, affect eye health, or are associated with other sensory health challenges. Areas such as diabetes, childhood cancer, disaster relief, hunger, hearing, or even the environment.
Now, back to the Osseo Lions Club… What do the Osseo Lions actually do? How do we serve?
We raise funds through community events and charitable gambling and the funds we receive are returned to the community through donations to local organizations and service projects. (Have you pulled some tabs at Duffy’s recently? If so, thank you – you’ve helped our communities!)
In the 2022- 2023 fiscal year, our charitable gambling alone has donated more than $120,000 to non-profit organizations, including the Osseo school district. These funds focus on the needs of children, veterans, and the disabled. We have provided eye tests and glasses, assistive devices for the hearing impaired and students with disabilities, help for families and veterans in need, support for students and families who are unhoused, as well as victims of sex trafficking, and more.
The club also collects eyeglasses and hearing aids to be refurbished and used for those who need them but can’t afford them. You can find a drop sight at Premier Bank in Osseo, downtown on the corner of Central Ave and 3rd.
We collect and donate food and hygiene items to local food shelves throughout the year. We help organize the core of the two-day community Lions Roar event each September, and we host our annual Palm Sunday Pancake Breakfast each spring.
You can also find us hosting a fundraising steak fry during the year, a food tent at the InterMarque car show in May, and we give back by serving up eats and treats at the community Tuesday Night movies and music at Boerboom Park over the summer. Lion Ed Columbus, who emcees this weekly summer event also provides bad (terrible?) jokes at no charge.
For Halloween, the community comes together to celebrate child-like fun up and down Central Avenue.
You’ll find the Lions helping ghouls and superheroes cross the street as they parade up and down Central Ave, trick-or-treating at the local businesses. They then head over to Boerboom Park where we hand out more treats and goodies, with games and fun activities for the kiddos.
In December, we bring Santa to the park during the Osseo MiniDazzle.
Santa also graciously attends the Lunch With Santa event at the Community Center on the first Saturday in December, hosted by the Osseo Lions — free lunch for the kids, a goodie bag, and a picture with Santa.
There’s more outreach in December.
You’ll find us bell ringing at Fleet Farm in December, as well as hanging Christmas lights for the city and putting up the Christmas Village at Boerboom Park.
Whether it’s a big event or highway cleanup, we always seem to be up to something in Osseo.
Back to this year’s Lions Roar Event!
Taking place on the 8th and 9th of September this year, the Osseo Lions Roar is a great time to celebrate this amazing community! And we are truly grateful for the continued support we receive from the city, businesses, and community members. We are here — and able to do what we do — because of you!
We are always open to bringing in new members who are looking to help us in our mission to serve. The more members we have, the more we can serve.
If you are interested and want to have some fun with a great group of volunteers, please contact us on our website or in person at one of our events.
Also, please reach out if you know of a great cause or organization we can support. Where there is a need, there is a Lion… and the Osseo Lions are proud to serve the needs of this community.