Like all Lions clubs, North Durban Lions’ mission is to serve our community. We operate a variety of community service projects, some of which are regularly done and some which are once-off or infrequent.
Below are descriptions of the club’s current major projects. In addition to these projects the club also serves in many different small and large projects every year.
Every month, members of the club collect food from the public at several local supermarkets. Collections are done at the Crescent Pick ‘n Pay on the first or last Saturday morning of every month. In addition, Lion Phil Meyer collects at the Kensington Square Spar several times every month. The club gratefully thanks all the supermarkets and shopping centres which allow us to do our collections.
For each collection, the public are asked to donate non-perishable food. All the collected food is stored by the club, and used to make up food parcels. Every month more than 120 single-person parcels are made up. Several larger family sized parcels are also made up. This is the contents of a typical parcel:
More than 100 parcels are distributed monthly to needy and destitute pensioners at low-cost TAFTA homes. In addition several larger parcels are provided to a few families and orphanages.
Bagtech International makes an extremely generous monthly donation to our food project, which aids the club in helping many more people than they would otherwise be able to do.
The club subsidises spectacle prescriptions through a long-standing partnership with Manuela Diener of Manuela Diener Optometry. Manuela very kindly works regularly with the club to provide eye tests and arrange very low cost spectacles for people who need them. One of the great advantages for any Lions club is the ability to call on the resources of the larger organisation - the club has access to an automated eye-screening machine owned by District 410E. The machine can test someone’s eyesight in a few minutes which allows the club to screen hundreds of schoolchildren or pensioners at old age homes in a morning. Manuela is also on hand to provide a thorough eye-test for people the machine identifies with possible eyesight issues.
School eyesight screening is in many ways an extremely rewarding project, particularly for the joy on a child’s face able to see properly for the first time when they are presented with their spectacles. The club is also grateful to several local Specsavers branches who regularly arrange free spectacles for children under 12 from the results of Manuela’s eye-testing.
The club considers eye screening at primary schools to be a very important part of its work as many children don’t know their vision is poor, assuming that everyone sees the same way they do. Improvements to their quality of life and academic prospects are very rewarding to the club’s members.
We also collect old spectacles from the public - donations of old spectacles are always welcomed. These old spectacles are sent to Lions BrightSight in Benoni, where they are recycled to provide spectacles for those in need.
Further Services to TAFTA Residents
The club regularly provides a braaied burger or chicken roll for residents at one of several local TAFTA homes, which many of the residents regard as a highlight of their year. In addition the club regularly plays bingo with TAFTA residents.
Golden Hours School
Golden Hours is a school for children with intellectual disabilities. The North Durban Lions have had a long relationship with the school, and have made many contributions to the school over the years. For many years the club operated a weekly fundraising stall at the market which the school arranges every Sunday.
Donations to Babies Homes
The club makes regular donations towards the Sinakakele home for abandoned babies, assisting them financially and with a food parcel. Club members also regularly assist Sinakekele with hands-on projects, assisting to sort donations, planting trees and taking on other tasks at the home.
Donations Towards a Guide Dog
The club has made several donations of R10 000 to the South African Guide Dogs Association for the Blind to aid in providing a guide dog to someone in need.
The club has served in hundreds of different ways over its 50+ year history - below are a few highlights of previous projects:
Bambanani was a project designed to teach job skills to young jobseekers. The program provided skills training in general maintenance and related work to several candidates over 6 month periods. It also provided training on work ethics, responsibility and general life skills to the candidates. While they were part of the program, candidates received a stipend, generously funded by various donors.
The club worked with an audiologist, Lauren Glossop, who generously gave of her time to assist in providing hearing screening tests for the hard of hearing. The club paid for moulds and hearing tests for many of those who were found to need a hearing aid, for which Lauren charged a reduced fee. The club also had access to a stock of donated hearing aids, which were reworked and given to those who needed one.
Donations of old hearing aids from the public are always welcome and will be provided to other Lions clubs who continue with hearing-related service.