By Susan Lee DeRemer

Want to join the Santa Monica Lions in getting 2016 off to a good start? We are working on two projects and could use your help.

First is our food drive for the Westside Food Bank (WFB). While donations pour in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, they drop off in January. However, the need of the people who rely on the WFB does not decrease. We are asking the Santa Monica community to help with donations of non-perishable food, toiletries, diapers, blankets and even dog food. You can take items to the Westside Food Bank at 1710 22nd St., in Santa Monica off of Michigan Avenue and tell them you are donating as part of the Santa Monica Lions food drive.

Feeling short on time, but still want to help out? You can make a cash donation at www.tinyurl.com/Lions2016. Last year we were able to raise just over $900. Help us reach a goal of $1,200 this year. The great thing about the cash donations is that WFB has special deals with food suppliers that increase their buying power. It also lets them provide perishable items, such as healthy fruits and vegetables.

The other focus for the Santa Monica Lions is finding participants for the 79th Annual Student Speaker Contest. The topic this year is “Liberty and Justice for All” – What Does it Mean to You? The contest is open to any high school student at Santa Monica High, St. Monica’s, Crossroads, Pacifica or New Roads. Contact your English department for the guidelines and to register for the first contest to take place on Thursday, Feb. 18. This is a great opportunity to try your public speaking and debate skills, add to your college resume and earn scholarship money from the Lions Student Speaker Foundation.

The winner of the first Club receives $100, with the amount increasing as you progress through the levels. Each of the fifteen District winners received a $4,500 scholarship, each of the four Area winners received an additional $6,500 scholarship and the winner of the Multiple District Four Contest receives an additional $10,000 scholarship. If you have further questions, call Susan at 310-623-4499 or email santamonicalion@gmail.com.

Help us make 2016 a year to remember. Join us at one of our monthly community service projects, participate in a Lions sponsored event or think about becoming a Santa Monica Lion.

For more information about the Lions Club visit www.facebook.com/smlions, http://e-clubhouse.org/sites/santamonica, call 310-623-4499 or reach them at PO Box 3435, Santa Monica, CA 90408.

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