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Neighborhood spotlight: WP Lions give back to community

Like many of the West Penn Township Lions, Robert W. Miller was taught as a child to give back to the community. So as soon as he was old enough, the Orwigsburg resident became a member of the club.

Sixty-one years later, the organization is made up of a devoted group of volunteers who share the same values.

“I grew up in a family that was Lions - who cared, and volunteered. It was important to help those people who were less fortunate than yourselves,” Miller said.

The West Penn Township Lions have been serving their neighbors and people in need since 1948. Best known for holiday traditions like the Andreas Halloween Parade, they contribute to the community in numerous ways.

They know they’re fortunate to be in a position to be able to give back to those in need.

“I think we’re so blessed in this country, that the least you can do is give back to your community,” said Karissa Brothers, president of the West Penn Township Lions Club.

The organization’s first project in 1948 was to electrify the one-room schoolhouses where the township’s children learned. They’ve carried on that tradition since then, helping to support and maintain the community park, and as a major contributor to the West Penn Train Station project.

They also provide direct support to families in need. Every holiday season, they provide baskets of food to dozens of needy residents around the West Penn area. Other families receive a monthly food basket or stipend to help them.

The holiday parade, egg hunt and Christmas tree lighting are held as a service to the community. The club is also a regular participant in the Carbon County Fair and Fair Association.

Of course, Lions are best known for their work with the visually impaired. Helen Keller famously called upon them to be “Knights of the Blind” nearly a century ago.

The West Penn Township Lions work with local Girl Scouts and businesses to collect glasses on a regular basis. In addition, they work with local eye doctors to pay for glasses for families and children, who are unable to afford them.

“We open it up to try to help everyone we can. Because after all, that’s what Lions originally started with, vision,” said Bob Neumoyer, secretary of the West Penn Township Lions Club.

They also continue to work in local schools through the Lions KidSight program. They conduct vision screenings for elementary and preschool children. The club currently does screenings for Tamaqua, West Penn and St. Jerome’s.

The West Penn Township Lions Club always welcomes new members. Membership Chairperson Rebecca Neumoyer can be reached at neumoyerrebecca@yahoo.com.

“You get to meet wonderful people, get to know your community better, and you get more out of it than what you put in,” said Debra Saunders, treasurer of the West Penn Township Lions Club.

The West Penn Township Lions Club serves those in need and brings together the community for holiday events. Members include (from left) Bob Miller, Rebecca Neumoyer, Karissa Brothers, Debra Saunders, Judy Miller and Bob Neumoyer. CHRIS REBER/TIMES NEWS