Wilton Lions Club meets 8:30 a.m. every Monday to plan fundraisers and discuss the various projects it supports. Pictured clockwise from left on Aug. 2 are Marc Deming, Russell Black, Bernal Allen, Bill Fletcher, Al Kaplan, and Andrea Kennison holding Madison Kennison. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

WILTON — Wilton Lions Club International has a long history of serving the community and it isn’t letting up.

This month is especially busy as the members hold fundraisers to support their endeavors.

On Saturday, Aug. 7, the annual blueberry pancake breakfast was served during Blueberry Fest. Blueberry pancakes with real maple syrup, bacon, sausage, orange juice and coffee were served near the monument from 7-10 a.m.

This year the annual giant yard sale will be Friday through Sunday, Aug. 20-22. The sale was not held last year because of COVID-19. Members have been collecting and storing items for the sale held on Routes 2 and 4 near the Big Apple.

Renting the Lions hall has been another successful fundraiser.

“It’s been rented more than 35 times this year,” Marc Deming said. “The sad part is, most have been for funerals.”


Another revenue source is a bottle drop off site at the Wilton Transfer Station.

“That’s been a good fundraiser,” Ken Wiley said.

Wilton Lions Club supports a range of programs.

On Monday, Aug. 2, a $1,500 check was presented to Franklin County Special Olympics.

“Wilton Lions have been making annual donations for years, and have a like interest in Special Olympics, too,” Gary Desjardins of FCSO said. “The Lions and Franklin County Special Olympics have been going to the Winter Games at Sugarloaf for many years. We each have different venues at the mountain and we both feed the athletes.”

Franklin County Special Olympics traditionally has held four holiday themed dances at the AMVETS hall in Jay. Other events included separate monthly bowling outings for student and adult special needs athletes during the school year plus locally held winter and spring games.


“All activities are currently suspended, we’re not doing anything because of COVID-19,” Desjardins said. “The state is watching this closely.”

Eye care is another Lions project.

Throughout the year, Lions and other volunteers collect used eyeglasses and send them to regional Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers. Volunteers clean, sort by prescription strength and package the glasses. Most of the recycled glasses are distributed to people in need in developing countries where they will have the greatest impact.

“To date this year, almost 360 pairs have been sent out and we have collected a lot more,” Al Kaplan said. “We also help Wilton area residents who need assistance obtaining eyeglasses.”

Eyeglass drop boxes are located throughout Franklin County.

For more information on box locations or to inquire about assistance call Kaplan at 207-491-5996.


On Monday, Aug. 2, Wilton Lions Club presented a $1,500 check to Franklin County Special Olympics. Pictured from left are Special Olympics committee members Kent Mitchell, Ryan Souther and Gary Desjardins and Lions Club members Bill Groder and Ken Wiley. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

The Wilton food pantry is another Lions cause.

Each Wednesday and Thursday throughout the year Gary Ouellette and Ken Wiley respectively take their pickup trucks to Hannafords to collect breads, baked goods and produce that can no longer be sold. The food is then delivered to the food bank for distribution to community members.

“They have also purchased new equipment for them (the food bank),” Desjardins said.

The Lions have added a new scholarship to their philanthropic efforts at Mt. Blue High School.

“Two $1,000 scholarships have been presented, one to a boy and the other a girl for a long time,” Bill Groder said. “This year we started helping special needs graduates. $500 scholarships were presented to a boy and girl planning to attend a technical school. It will be ongoing.”

“This is quite an outfit,” Desjardins said.

The Lions welcome community-minded individuals willing to make a difference and have fun while doing so, he noted.

For more information about Lions Club projects or to join call Groder at 207-897-8007.

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