Several years ago Past District Governor Lion Chris Homer had a vision to have a serve project for the kids in Gallia County at Christmas time.
He shared with the Gallipolis Lions Board that he want to buy Christmas presents for at least 50 kids that may not have Christmas that year. The thought of it was a great idea but didn’t know where the money would come from. A few months past and he heard that the Gallipolis Police Department was looking for a organization to help them with their project called “Hat Drive.”
Chris and Matt Champlain sat down and discuss it and the Christmas Service Project was born. Gallipolis Police Department would collect the money on Eastern Ave in front of Walmart on the first Saturday in December for four hours with the help of Lion Mascot “Romeo.” Then the Gallipolis Police Department would graciously turn the money over to the Gallipolis Lions Club to purchase gifts for kids.
Members then would receive kids names and shop for them for Christmas. This usually takes about four-five hours to do; many volunteers come out and help every year and then there is the process of checking out. Members then take 600-700 gifts down to a local church where the next day with the help of South Gallia Leo’s, River Valley Leo’s , Gallipolis Lions Club, Gallipolis Police Department and many volunteers of the community wrap all of those gifts. Finally members take them about week later to a big room facility and we have a huge Christmas Pizza Party with ice cream and the works. Then members share the story of the birth of Christ following with some Christmas songs then Santa would come. Then with the help of several volunteers members pass out the gifts for the kids. Members now buy for 100 kids every year and this may grow next year.
According to a statement from the Lions Club: “We as the Gallipolis Lions Club and Gallipolis Police Department are so proud of this service project and it goes with both of our motto, ‘We Serve.’ There is nothing more rewarding knowing that we are making a difference in the kids and their families lives. Finally, we just want to thank everyone who was involved in this project. Especially to everyone who contributed to the “Hat Drive” and business who donated money to this great cause. We raised $8,100 this year.”