Wonderful Waco women

Waco Women's Lions Club meets at the Fiesta House near La Fiesta on the first Monday of the month at noon, and all are welcome to attend. Pictured at a recent club meeting are club members Pat Daniel, past president Stephanie Lenamon, president Janice Stone, Debbie Hahn and Lee Anne Ostrander. Courtesy Photo.

By Rolando Rodriguez, Reporter

Men aren’t the only ones pouncing to make a difference in the Waco community. The Waco Women’s Lions Club is approaching their second year of actively serving to make a difference in the lives of others.

The Waco Women’s Lions Club was formed Dec. 13, 2013, as the first Lions Club for women in Waco, but their short time as a nonprofit organization has not stopped them from organizing various events.

The nonprofit is a part of Lions Club International. Globally, Lions Club International is the largest humanitarian organization. According to the organization website, Lions Club was established in 1917 to empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding.

Stephanie Lenamon, the charter president of Waco Women’s Lions Club, said she decided to create a service organization for women as a response to the organizations that were predominately male.

“It’s geared towards women who have families, who have careers and who serve in other capacities in the community,” Lenamon said. “These ladies are all motivated, creative and innovative, but they also have a huge heart for service.”

The Waco Women’s Lions Club started with 27 members, and they are now close to doubling in size.

“It’s amazing when a group of women band together and want to serve, and that’s everybody’s common goal,” said Sarah Martin, co chair for the Dinner in the Dark fundraiser. “You do great things when your heart is to serve.”

Lenamon said members’ passions and interests inspire all of their service projects.

“Our members are very plugged-into the community,” Lenamon said. “They are all a part of different organizations, and different things pull on their hearts, so they will bring us ideas for these service projects.”

Women’s Lions Club has most recently partnered with the First Lutheran Church in Waco and MannaWorks, an organization that coordinates volunteers to provide breakfast every Friday to the homeless. Their most popular events are Fill-A-Fiat and Dinner in the Dark.

Fill-A-Fiat was the nonprofit’s first service project where they partnered with McLennan Pack of Hope to help feed children in the local school districts on weekends and during breaks.

Dinner in the Dark is the largest fundraising event for Waco Women’s Linos Club, and it is the first of its kind in Central Texas.

Martin said during Dinner in the Dark, every person that attends would experience the evening as a blind person, so that they can identify the challenges of people that are visually impaired and what they go through during a simple daily activity like eating a meal.

The fundraiser will benefit Leader Dogs for the Blind. According to the organization’s website, the cost to fully train each dog that is genetically chosen to be a part of the leader dog program is $39,000. The event is working to raise money to Leader Dogs, so that they can raise dogs for people who are visually impaired.

Dinner in the Dark will be held on Jan. 23, 2016, at the Waco Hippodrome Theatre in downtown. Tickets are now available for purchase at the Hippodrome box office. Only 200 tickets will be sold.

“We’re a young Lions Club, only 24 months old, but we’ve shown our serious commitment to service through numerous projects that we’ve created and successfully implemented as a team,” said Kim Giles, marketing and public relations co-chair. “It’s an honor to be a part of the Waco Women’s Lions Club.”

Lenamon welcomes women to volunteer and join Waco Women’s Lions Club. For more information on how to become involved or on upcoming events, email Lenamon at wacowomenslionsclub@gmail.com or visit their Facebook page.