Newly inaugurated County Executive George Latimer, made his first appearance early in January with the merged Larchmont Mamaroneck Lions Club. The occasion was a dinner event at The Sedona Taphouse in Mamaroneck, to celebrate the Lions clubs merger and launch of the joint Lions & Sedona Mondays Steak Out for Charity in support of Habitat for Humanity of Westchester.
Jim Killoran, president of Habitat for Humanity of Westchester spoke about Westchester’s affordable housing crisis and the ways Habitat and its volunteer force works with communities to address the problem. The Lions are teaming up with Habitat to support their efforts financially, with Lions volunteers and co-coordinating with other community organizations. The past District Governor of the Lions, Peter Pergolis, from the Tuckahoe Eastchester chapter, also spoke.
Every Monday in January, Sedona offered a special $6 Steak for lunch and dinner. For each steak ordered, Sedona donated $1, matched by another $1 from the Larchmont Mamaroneck Lions to Habitat.
Latimer was invited as guest speaker because he was the initiator of the merger of the Larchmont & Mamaroneck Lions Clubs. Last year, over a cup coffee between he and Larchmont Lions president Phil Oldham, Latimer spoke of the many existing connections between the 2 communities (schools, etc. ) and suggested that the 2 clubs should look to work together.
As an extension of the joint efforts between the Larchmont & Mamaroneck clubs, closer relationships have begun between other area Lions clubs. The result has been the creation of the Sound Shore Lions Clubs Group. The 4 clubs (Ann Sullivan-White Plains, Larchmont Mamaroneck, New Rochelle and Rye City) will begin joint efforts of service to common community needs. These efforts involve identifying and working with other service and civic organizations. George Latimer is a member of the Rye City Lions.
At the Sedona event, besides Habitat, some of the other local community and humanitarian groups that the Lions support were recognized. These include Helping Hands for the Homeless & Hungry, Hunger Task Force, At Home on the Sound, Neighbors for Refugees, Friends of the Family & the STEM Alliance.
Eye health and service for the blind has long been the Lions signature cause. Representatives from Guiding Eyes for the Blind, people from the Lions eye glass recycling, the VCB Camp for the Blind and KidSight preschool eye testing program were also in attendance.
To facilitate communications and co-operation between community service groups and civic leaders, many have become Lions, including from the above mentioned groups and County Executive George Latimer, State Representative Steve Otis and Larchmont Mayor Lorraine Walsh.
The Larchmont Mamaroneck Lions are part of the International Lions Clubs, the largest service organization in the world and currently celebrating its 100th Anniversary. The club is also one of 48 Lions clubs making up the Lions District 20 R2, which includes clubs from Staten Island, Manhattan, Bronx and lower Westchester.