Baldwin Lions Club disburses storm recovery grant
LAKE COUNTY — Food pantries throughout Lake County have been replenished from the Aug. 28 storm thanks to a $10,000 grant awarded by Lions Club International Foundation Disaster Relief Program.
With extended power outages experienced by many Lake County residents in the storm aftermath, many people utilized the pantries, officials said.
"The Lions Club International Foundation Disaster Relief Program is supported by donations from Lions Clubs all over the world. Our own club donates to the program," said Lions Club member Laura Johnson, who applied for the grant. "We decided to apply for the food relief grant to help people recover food lost during the storm."
St. Ann's Senior Center's meal program received $4,300, and Bread of Life food pantry, which feeds 90 families a week, received $3,000. Edgetts Wesleyan Handfuls of Purpose Food Pantry, serving 70 families per month, received $1,350, as did Irons Seventh Day Adventist Church Food Pantry, which serves 30 families monthly.
Nancy Przedwojewski, of the Irons Seventh Day Adventist Church Food Pantry, said the grant money came at just the right time.
"So many people in the Irons area were without power," she said. "Our food at the pantry was saved by Greg Fisher, owner of Dublin General Store, by allowing us to store food in their cooler, but all the families without power needed food supplies and lost all their frozen food. We needed to restock our shelves. This donation was a true blessing which seemed to come out of nowhere."
Lake County Emergency Manager Don Divis was instrumental in helping to obtain the grant by providing statistics for power outages, Johnson added, saying 10,000 out of Lake County's 11,000 residents had outages.
"We were very lucky to get the disaster relief grant," Johnson said. "The whole state of South Carolina received $100,000 during Hurricane Florence, and our local community received $10,000. This is the third grant our Lions district received from the foundation. Our district was awarded $40,000 for diabetes prevention last year, and $10,000 for the flooding in Newaygo County five years ago. Lions Club does so much more than provide glasses."
The Lions Club International is the largest humanitarian service organization in the world, with 1.4 million members and serving 210 counties, Johnson added.
The Baldwin Lions Club meets at 6 p.m. every second and fourth Thursday at Pompeii's in Baldwin for those interested in learning more about the organization and community outreaches.