By the Maben Lions Club
The Maben Lions Club was chartered on Sept. 1, 1949, with 26 charter members. This September the club will celebrate 65 years of service to the community and surrounding area.
Five years after the men’s club was chartered in 1954 the club members were joined by a women’s auxiliary known as the Maben Lioness Club, which was chartered with 15 members. Together these clubs worked to support projects that made it possible to provide eyeglasses to people who were not able to afford them. Today the Maben Lions Club has both men and women members numbering 20 with more prospective members who have been invited to join.
A few years later in 1962-63 Hubert Schrivener, a charter member, was elected to the highest office in the state of Mississippi when he became district governor of District E. He was the postmaster in Maben and worked tirelessly in leadership of the Maben Lions Club for many years.
In 1994 Schrivener was honored for his outstanding service to Lionism with the Melvin Jones Award, the highest honor available to a Lion, named for the man who founded the organization in 1917. Other members of the Maben Lions Club to receive the Melvin Jones Award include W.O. Shivers in 1997, to Duane Thomas in 1998, to L.M. Hamberlin in 1999 and to Wayne Brimer in 2008.
Melvin Jones, a 38-year-old Chicago business leader, started the first Lions Club as a men’s lunchtime meeting that expanded its mission by asking a simple and world-changing question – what if people put their talents to work improving their communities? In 1925 the Lions were challenged by Helen Keller to become the Knights of the Blind and this became the focus for its service.
Almost 100 years later, Lions Clubs International has become the world’s largest service club organization, with 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs and countless stories of Lions acting on the same simple idea: let’s improve our communities and focus especially of people who have sight or hearing problems.
In 2006-07 the Maben Lions Club was recognized by Lions Clubs International as a Model Club, one of two such clubs in the northern part of the state of Mississippi. As a Model Club the Maben club donated more than $6,000 to the international fundraiser called Campaign SightFirst II, which raised more than $20 million for use worldwide to eradicate blindness resulting from unclean water sources in underdeveloped countries.
More recently the Maben Lions Club has worked in cooperation with the Eupora Lions Club to distribute vouchers for disaster relief after the tornado damage in 2011. The vouchers were from a $10,000 grant to northern Mississippi from the Lions Clubs International Foundation.
The Maben club holds sight screenings in three schools: East Webster Elementary, West Oktibbeha Elementary and Hebron Christian School. We also collect used eyeglasses in a collection box located in Maben’s branch of Cadence Bank. These eyeglasses are recycled for use by people who need them. We also provide eye exams and eyeglasses for people who cannot get help any other way.
The club sponsors high school students to attend leadership conferences for boys and for girls in the spring. In April we award two scholarships to high school seniors from area high schools. You may have also heard that we sponsor the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick contest in September each year.