Altoona Lions Activities
Each year the Altoona Lions Club manages many projects for the purpose of community service. Many of the projects involve running our Spin Art booth to raise money, which we distribute to a variety of Altoona projects or groups or individuals. Some of our projects involve Lions labor, helping work on a project or performing a service.
The list below shows the wide variety of services that our Altoona Lions help with.
Over the next year, we will add a photo and description of each of these activities to this web site.
Spin Art at Iowa State Fair
KidSight Screening for pre-school kids ("Coming to Your Senses" Program)
Eyeglasses + hearing aids for needy
Donation to Altoona Enabling Gardens
Donation to Altoona PD/FD for defibrillator
Altoona Food Bank
Defibrillator for SEP High School
Korean / Vietnam Memorial
Leader Dog seeing eye dog program
Boy Scout Camp, Camp Courageous
Hertko Diabetic Camp, Iowa Youth Camp
SE Polk Early Learning Center
Red Ribbon Week
SE Polk Post Prom Party
Central Place (SE Polk Schools assistance for needy)
Altoona Lions Park construction and funding
Altoona Haines Park shelter construction and funding
Sam Wise Park Baseball/softwall fences and backstops
Altoona Fire and Police Depts, technology
Senior Center, major remodeling and furniture
SE Polk Schools playground equipment donation
Iowa Lions Youth Exchange Camp
SE Polk Leo Club
Annual Valentines Day Dinner
Annual Steak Fry (After Iowa State Fair)
Annual Christmas Party
Lions KidSight Program
Altoona Lions KidSight Program
The Altoona Lions are part of a statewide Lions program that screens pre-school kids for early sight problems. The Altoona Lions screening team includes Dennis Crabtree, Linda Crabtree, Jerry Harding, Jerry Nolin, and Doni Auten.. They have screened hundreds of Altoona and Southeast Polk area pre-school kids. The screening results are sent to the University of Iowa for evaluation, and if a problem is found, the parents are informed.
The Altoona Lions Club has been screening children's eyes free under the Iowa KidSight Screening program since May of 2000. As of September 2008 there have been 300 screening sessions at Day Cares and Pre-Schools with 2959 children screened and 69 referred to their eye doctor with eye problems. Children of the ages 6 months through 48 months are screened.
The following letter was sent to the Altoona Lions by a grateful parent:
"I wanted to take a moment to thank the Lions Club for performing the vision screenings in conjunction with the University of Iowa. My children attend Shining Stars in Pleasant Hill, and through the screening my son (who was not yet 2 at the time) was referred. After seeing Dr. Spencer with Children's Eye Clinic, P.C. he was put into glasses, we are now 'patching' in order to strengthen his eye muscle, but we hope he will outgrow the extreme lazy eye that was detected.
I cannot thank you enough for providing this valuable service. As a health insurance professional my husband and I are very careful to ensure all preventive care is received by our family, but this had yet to be detected by the pediatrician.
Your organization is making a difference to our community and we appreciate it. I've attached a photo of Kaine with his new glasses.
Lions Used Eye-Glasses Collection/Redistribution
Altoona Lions Support for Central Place
One of the major goals of the Lions organization is the improvement of sight, in a number of ways. Our Altoona Lions participate in a used eye-glasses collection and re-distribution program. We have containers located at several area locations so that people can deposit their used/unneeded glasses.
The Lions then collect the glasses, have them "sized/categorized" by trained Lions Clubs and then the Optometrists and Ophthalmologists take the glasses with them as they go to the various countries to check eyes. Most of the used glasses are taken to third world countries, including several countries in South and Central America and Mexico.
The Altoona Lions have collected over 25,000 pairs of used glasses over the years, and collect about 2,000 pair of glasses per year. The current locations of glasses collection include Altoona Wal-Mart, Wylie Eye Care Center in Altoona, Bank of Iowa in Altoona, and HyVee at E 25th & Euclid.
The Southeast Polk Central Place Family Resource Center provides diverse support services for all members of the Southeast Polk community to help individuals become safer, healthier, and self-sufficient. Their primary intent is to provide services for those most in need. Central Place includes all of the functions listed below.
The Altoona Lions has provided $1,000 support per year to Central Place for the past several years. In addition, The Lions have provided significant additional funding for the Food Pantry, including $1,000 for the 2008-2009 year.
Central Place asked in 2007 if they could use part of their annual Lions donation to purchase a van for all of their services. The photo shows the van purchased partly with Lions funding ($500).
Clothes Hanger, provides new and gently used clothing to people of all ages
Southeast Polk Children's Clinic, Southeast Polk children and youth between the ages of birth and 21 years are eligible to be seen free of charge at the Southeast Polk Children’s Clinic
Newborn Packets, Central Place and the Altoona Kiwanis welcome babies into the school district by delivering a packet of information about the care and feeding of newborns, plus resources of interest to new parents.
General Assistance, Close to two-thirds of the requests for resource and referral from Central Place staff include financial assistance with basic needs.
Christian Community Food Pantry, The Christian Community Food Pantry assists Southeast Polk residents with food and limited help with utilities or rent
Orchard Place/ Child Guidance Center, Through collaborative agreements with Orchard Place/Child Guidance Center, elementary through high school students are able to receive therapy services, usually at their home schools. Receiving services at school helps address the issue of transportation and eliminates the need for parents to take time off of work.
Mercy Employee/Student Assistance Program, The Mercy Employee/Student Assistance Program provides Southeast Polk students and employees with six free counseling sessions per school year. The program offers confidential and caring help for anyone experiencing personal and/or family problems. The program provides a choice of options in a private and relaxed atmosphere located at the Mercy Franklin Center in Des Moines.
Altoona Lions Support for Dollars For Scholars
The Southeast Polk Dollars For Scholars program was started in 2001 as a way for one stop shopping for college scholarships. Previously prospective college students had to apply to each different group that was offering one or more scholarships. Dollars For Scholars provides a way for students to apply one time and the information is shared with all participating scholarship providers.
The Altoona Lions have provided $1500 per year for the past three years for $500 scholarships and for administrative expenses. The Lions also co-hosted a soup and sandwich supper with the Altoona Kiwanis with each club picking up the expenses, thus all donations goes for scholarships.
The photo shows 2008-2009 Lions President Barb McGrean presenting a scholarship to Taylor Davenport at the May 2008 ceremony.
Lions Support for Altoona Police and Fire Departments
Lions Support Altoona Enabling Gardens
As part of the Altoona Lions community support, we donate funds and/or equipment each year to the Altoona Police Department and/or the Altoona Fire Department.
The Altoona Enabling Gardens is a place where handicapped citizens can perform gardening activities. The structure of the Gardens was designed for handicap access. The maintenance of the flowers and plants is done by handicapped Altoona citizens. The Gardens, located just south of HyVee Grocery Store, is a beautiful entry to the greenway through the center of Altoona. The Altoona Lions provided over $2000 for materials to assist in building the Gardens. The Lions also worked many man-hours on the buildings.
Altoona Vietnam & Korean War Memorial
SEP SCIP Day Hosted by Lions
The Altoona Lions provided $1,000 for materials to help build the Vietnam & Korean War Memorial in the Sam Wise Youth Complex.
Each spring the Southeast Polk senior class holds a SCIP day (Senior Community Improvement Project). The concept is to get the students involved in community service by taking several bus loads of SEP seniors to many locations where they can spend a morning helping with community service projects.
The area Lions clubs take turns providing a lunch for the SCIP day participants at Thomas Mitchell Park. The Lions cook burgers and hotdogs and provide chips, lemonade/ice tea, and ice cream.
The photo shows the Altoona Lions and Pleasant Hill Lions teaming up to provide the SCIP Day lunch in 2008.
Lions Enhance City Parks
Lions Build Baseball Fences At Sam Wise Complex
The Altoona Lions believe that the ongoing support of city parks is one of the most important services we can provide. We have donated money every year to the City of Altoona for various park projects. In addition, some of the projects are ones that the Lions pay for and do the construction. For example, the Lions paid for and built two of the shelters at Sam Wise Sports Complex, and paid for a third shelter. The City of Altoona provided the floor for each shelter. Each shelter costs about $2,500.
In addition, the Altoona Lions have worked with the City to provide many other park improvements over the years.
In the mid 1990s the Altoona Lions helped jumpstart the Sam Wise Sports Complex by purchasing and erecting the baseball fences on several fields. Hundreds of Lions man-hours were expended on this project. The total cost was about $3000 for materials.
Lions Park in Altoona Iowa
Probably the largest project ever undertaken by the Altoona Lions was the development of Lions Park in west central Altoona. The two baseball field complex was built in the 1960s. Most of the cost of the initial development was paid for by the Lions. And most of the construction, including grading and lots of manual labor was done by Lions members. Hundreds of man-hours were expended on this development.
At the time, these were the only two public ball fields in Altoona. They served the city for many years (nearly 2 decades) until the Sam Wise Complex was built on the east side of Altoona. The Lions Park fields are still actively used all summer.
2016 Oct Article from The Iowa Lion Magazine
Lions Spin Art Booth at Des Moines Art Festival
February 2010 AltoonaLife Magazine features Altoona Lions
Each year the Altoona Lions make most of our revenues by running our Spin Art booth at variuous events. Each event requires lots of people power, some Lions members, and some Friends of Lions. The two pictures shown are from the 2009 Des Moines Art Festival. The SPin Art booth was financed by Prairie meadows and run by the Altoona Lions. Lots of kids and adults get to enjoy the spin art of their creation. Lots of people get to help run the SPin Art booth, and as such get first hand involvement in producing the money for the many Lions service projects. And lastly, the renenues from the Spin Art booth is spent each year on wonderful almost all local service projects that help needy people and help the Altoona community.
The February 2010 edition of the AltoonaLife magazine features Altoona service organizations, and the feature story is about the Altona Lions. The feature story includes comments by Altoona Lions Dennis Crabtree, Roger Mahnke, Linda Crabtree, and Bob Aalbers.
The cover of the magazine is shown above. Altoona Lions President Bob Aalbers is shown with the Lions flag. This is just wonderful advertising for the community service work our Altoona Lions do.