Lions: The local club spent the holiday season hard at work for the community. Courtesy photo

For the Santa Monica Pacific Palisades Lions, the spirit of the season is in full force. This past month we started celebrating with a holiday luncheon at Tony P’s in Marina del Rey. It was the perfect setting with a view of the marina, good food, and many of our fellow Lions from the Venice Marina LAX Lions Club were able to join us. The afternoon was filled with games and our traditional white elephant gift exchange.

Our December meeting was our annual Salvation Army Holiday Kick-Off with musical performances by Cadets Hyuong & Ji Seo and Micayla DeEtte followed by our Lions sing-a-long of familiar holiday carols. Next we started the Sana Monica Salvation Army bell ringing campaign, with an update on the Salvation Army’s many local projects by Captain James Fleming.

For decades the Rotary, Soroptomists, Kiwanis, Elks and Lions have completed in a service club challenge to see who can raise the most money from their clubs, combined with the money they raise from bell ringing at various locations across Santa Monica. Last year the SMPP Lions won the challenge. After Captain Fleming’s remarks a Lion made an initial donation of $500 to challenge other members to donate. In true Lions fashion the match was met, other challenges offered, and by the end of the fundraising, close to $3000 was raised – all before we did our bell ringing at the Bristol Farms Market that Friday. As of this writing, the Lions lead the service club challenge, raising almost $4100.

There was one thing that made this Salvation Army Holiday Kick-Off stand out from previous events, Captain James Fleming became Lion James in an induction ceremony, performed by Co-President Susan DeRemer, with Co-President Kingsley Fife as his sponsor. It was the perfect time with other members of the Salvation Army attending the ceremony, including his wife, Captain Katrina Fleming, Noah Weiner, Corp Assistant, and the Army’s musicians.

As the SMPP Lions get ready for 2023, we are holding the first post-pandemic the Lions Eyes Across America, with vision & diabetes screenings on March 18th at Virginia Avenue Park, providing baked goods for the Fisher House in the spring, and participating in a variety of other service projects. Since we are always looking for new ways to help the community, if your nonprofit needs some helping hands, please contact Susan at smpplionsclub@gmail.com.

Thanks to the success of our first annual Godfather of All Spaghetti Dinners this past October, we will also be offering grants to community nonprofits by invitation only. It is our hope that with increased attendance at next year’s fundraising event we will be able to open applications to include everyone.

If community service is important to you or you want to meet new friends, please contact either Yoriko Fisher, at smpplionsclub@gmail.com or Kingsley Fife at 310-454-2960. Also reach out to them if you are interested in attending out next meeting on Wednesday, January 11th at 6 pm, at the Elks Lodge. Our guest speaker for the evening will be Jeanne Row Smith from the Wesley Foundation whose purpose is to support students at local colleges with emotional, food and housing needs.