Maplesville Lions at a crossroads

Published 8:56 pm Thursday, May 7, 2009

Maplesville Lions Club member Richard Harrison knows how valuable civic organizations are to a small town.

The Lions contribute to Toys for Kids, a local charity that provides Christmas gifts to underprivileged children. They also raise funds for the Chilton County Emergency Assistance Center and send local students to Camp ASCCA, among other projects.

But due to several factors, the Maplesville Lions are struggling. This is partly due to the economy, but diminishing interest and the loss of members have also affected the organization.

“In a town, especially a small town, if you don’t have community involvement and community participation, you really don’t have anything,” Harrison said.

The Lions met Thursday to discuss the future of the organization, but no decision was made. Despite the optimism of members like Harrison, things are not looking good. Only about half a dozen members were in attendance at Thursday’s meeting.

“Our interest has been even lower than it was six months ago,” said Lions secretary Nina Stewart.

Harrison said some members have moved away, and others have been lost through death. But finding new faces to replace those members has proven to be difficult.

There are currently 16 paying members, according to Stewart.

“We need some new, young blood to do service for the community,” Harrison said.

Money is, of course, an unavoidable issue. Because of the economic downturn, people are more reluctant to ask for contributions. This, in turn, negatively affects the organization’s ability to fund its projects.

“Without sponsors, we can’t pay our dues,” Stewart said.

Still, there is lingering optimism.

“Things will get better. It will move forward,” Harrison said.