The Ridgedale Lions Club has been serving the community since 1964 and is one of six Lions Clubs in Marion County. Each of the local Lions clubs is part of Lions Clubs International, which is the largest service organization in the world with over 1.4 million members. Their mission is to empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace, and promote international understanding. Globally the Lions Clubs International focuses on these areas- vison, environment, hunger, diabetes, childhood cancer, and disaster relief efforts.
The Ridgedale Lions support the community through performing service projects and fundraising. All proceeds from these go towards donations to support the Club’s focus areas. Currently, the service projects include spring and fall highway cleanup, ringing the bells for the Salvation Army during the Christmas holiday season, Mobile Meals delivery, and collecting eyeglasses. Their members also have a long tradition of serving as assistants on the sidelines with the 10 yards downs marker, taking the measurements for Ridgedale home football games. Recently a large undertaking was the purchase and placement of a shelter at a lake area along Herr Road in the Marion Tallgrass Trail.
The Club’s fundraisers include their annual Daytona 500 NASCAR night, White Cane sales, and Mother’s Day rose sales. Past fundraisers included fish fries and selling light bulbs, brooms, calendars, sausage, and pumpkins.
The Ridgedale Lions fund local needs that include Ridgedale Schools & Ridgedale Boosters, paying for eye exams and glasses for those in need, Chapel Hill House, Heart of Ohio Homeless Shelter, Marion General Hospital Foundation Diabetes Fund, Marion Veterans Park, and the Eye to Eye Program. They also support some Ohio vision programs including Pilot Dogs, VOICEcorps, Newsreel, Canines for Companions, and other vision-related funds.
At Ridgedale High School, this Lions Club sponsors a Leo Club. The Ridgedale Leo Club is the longest sustained Leo organization in the state of Ohio, having been chartered in 1974. A Leo Club (Leadership, Experience, Opportunity) provides high school students an opportunity to develop leadership skills and encourages developing a spirit of community service.
Leo Club members perform service projects and do fundraising during the school year, with fundraising proceeds being used to buy Christmas presents for several families in the Marion Christmas Clearinghouse program. The Ridgedale High School Leo Club service projects include playing bingo with residents at Marion Manor several times a year, helping with the annual spring cleanup at Chapel Hill House, and serving at the Ridgedale Boosters Fish Fry, Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast and the Farm Bureau Farmers Care Breakfast.
The Ridgedale Leo Club was honored this year to finish in 2nd place in the Ohio Leo Club of the Year contest. Four members of the Ridgedale Lions Club serve as advisors for the Leos. They are proud to see the future generation’s commitment to service and community improvement. The Ridgedale Lions Club is gratified to see the hard work of this Leo Club.
The 42 members of the Ridgedale Lions Club, along with the members of the Green Camp, LaRue, Marion Evening, Pleasant and Prospect Lions Clubs, all embrace the Lions motto “We Serve”. Again showing the strong commitment our service club members have for the Marion County community.