by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove—The Sugar Grove Lions Club, chartered in 1969, is working to rebuild its membership. Sugar Grove resident Bill Keck, one of the Lions Club founding members, said he remembers an event at which there were between 70 and 100 people, although they were not all members.
Keck said the enthusiasm for the club has waxed and waned over the years. At one point, the club was down to nine members.
“There were times when the organization was on life support, but there seems to be an enthusiastic group at this point,” he said.
There are currently 20 regular members, Vice President Kevin Geary said. The goal is to have 50 or more members and to become more active in the community.
The local group recently incorporated and obtained 501(c)(3) status to become a nonprofit organization. This allows donors to claim their donations to the Lions Club on their income taxes.
The largest and most ambitious event that the Sugar Grove Lions Club sponsors is the firework display at the Sugar Grove Corn Boil. The show costs the Lions Club between $12,000 and $15,000, President Keith Koester said.
The Lions Club will also man a booth at the Corn Boil to sell and check people’s identification for wristbands to purchase alcohol. Koester said they need more volunteers to take the money and check IDs.
This fall, the Lions Club will hold its second annual pig roast on Saturday, Sept. 15, in the pavilion at Volunteer Park. People can purchase tickets for the all-you-can-eat dinner for $5 a person or $25 for a family of five or more.
“It’s a family event,” Koester said.
Their hope is to arrange a softball match among the Sugar Grove Fire and Police departments and the Kane County Sheriff’s Department. The name for the games suggested by Sugar Grove Fire Marshall Wayne Parson is Guns and Hoses.
The Sugar Grove chapter will also participate again in Lions Club International Candy Day, by handing out packages of hard candy at intersections in exchange for a donation.
In addition to collecting used glasses for people who can’t afford them, the Sugar Grove Lions Club donates money to local organizations, such as Conley Outreach, the Sugar Grove Cub Scout Troop and the Sugar Grove Between Friends Food Pantry.
“The more members we have to distribute the work to, the more we can do in the community,” Koester said.