$50,000 raised by New Zealand Lions

by Lin Ferguson

Hunterville_NewZealand Lions ClubIn a combined pledge, the Hunterville, Marton and Bulls Lions Clubs have raised $50,000 for a room at the new Ronald McDonald House being built opposite Wellington Hospital.

Hunterville Lions Club president Bernie Hughes said the three clubs in the Rangitikei region decided two years ago to make the pledge and raise $50,000.

“It is a very special cause, and we really wanted to get stuck in,” he said

The three clubs hope the name of the new room will be the Rangitikei Room.

Each club had held a major event to raise the money.

In early March, the Hunterville club held a 4WD rally across all the big sheep stations along the Napier-Taupo Rd.

“It was unbelievably successful. We completely sold out and could have easily sold dozens more tickets. Every station manager and farmer signed up … we were so well supported, it was just amazing,” Mr Hughes said.

The new, bigger, Ronald McDonald House will be able to house 34 families whereas the old house could only take 12 families.

The new house has cost the Ronald McDonald Trust more than $15 million and the call went out from the Wellington Trust for donations and pledges more than two years ago.

Ronald McDonald House is a “home-away-from-home” for families of children receiving medical treatment in Wellington.

The idea is that children respond better to treatment when their families are close.

The trust wanted to build a bigger house so it could accommodate a growing number of families and ensure it never had to turn anyone away.

They bought the land next to the existing house, just a short walk from Wellington Hospital.

The Ronald McDonald House Wellington Trust had pushed the green light for the project to start before they had secured the full funding, because they knew having the building under way was the best way to show they were serious about the new house.

Lions Clubs International Recognizes Peace Prize Poster Winner

Raj Phairembam, an 11-year-old boy from Manipur, India, will be recognized today at Lions Day with the United Nations in New York City for winning this year’s grand prize in the Lions International Peace Poster Contest.

“We live in different continents but our feelings are the same. We want to be where there is peace. We don’t want to be where there is violence and war,” said Phairembam. “We want a kingdom of peace where love prevails and where we can enjoy the freedom to play fearlessly with our friends – be it an American, an African, a European, an Australian or an Asian.”

An estimated 350,000 children, ages 11 to 13 in 70 countries around the world, participated in this year’s contest. His poster was chosen for its originality, artistic merit and portrayal of this year’s contest theme, “Vision of Peace.” Lions created the Peace Poster Contest to foster a spirit of peace and international understanding in young people worldwide.

Lions Clubs International President Sid L. Scruggs III said, “I commend Raj and all these young people for sharing their personal visions of peace with the world around them. They are truly beacons of hope for us all.”

At the event today, Phairembam will receive an award and $5,000.

In addition to the grand prizewinner, 23 merit award winners have been announced. This year’s merit winners are from Argentina, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Malta, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, New Zealand, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, the United States (California, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Virginia) and Uruguay. The merit winners will each receive $500 and a certificate of achievement.

Lions Providing Immediate Relief in Japan US$5 Million from Foundation Supporting Lions’ Efforts

In the case of disasters, Lions volunteers are often the first to respond, and continue to help for as long as it takes until all work is done. As volunteers of the world’s largest service club organization, Lions live in the affected communities, so they best know the needs of the community and are able to respond quickly and efficiently. They share a passion for rebuilding their communities.

Lions distribute food to elderly.With more 107,000 Lions in Japan, they are already mobilizing to provide immediate relief. Lions Clubs International Foundation is providig US$5 million to support Lions’ relief efforts. This includes grants as well as donations from Lions around the world.

The Foundation has established a designated fund for donations for disaster. Donations can be made in confidence, for 100 percent of every donation will go directly toward disaster relief. The Foundation has more than 40 years of experience in disaster relief, and all funds are administered by local Lions in the area.

“On behalf of all Lions of Japan, we wish to thank all of you for your support,” said Lions Clubs International Director Yasumasa Furo. Lions are appreciative of the immediate response of the Foundation and Lions’ worldwide.devastation in Hitachi

The Tohoku Region Pacific Ocean Coast Earthquake is the worst earthquake to hit Japan in over 100 years. Following the earthquake was a powerful tsunami and fires. The death toll continues to rise, and tens of thousands of people have been displaced, and many Lions have also been personally affected. March 14 members were finally able to make contact with some Lions in the hardest hit areas, but remain concerned for the health and safety of many. The electricity and communications finally returned to the area on March 17.

Already, Lions have established two relief command centers in the affected areas, as well as one in Tokyo at the Lions Office. The Kinomoto Lions Club drove a 10-ton-truck full of emergency supplies to Fukushima . The truck included 3,500 servings of instant noodles, 2,400 2-liter bottles of beverages, 5,000 diapers, 1,650 boxes and 1,000 pocket packs of Kleenex, 1,500 disposable hand warmers, 400 cans of food, 300 servings of instant miso soup, 12,000 pairs of disposable chop sticks, as well as buckets, blankets, kerosene and more.In devastated Miyagi, Lions served homemade stew to 100 elderly. These are just a few examples of the many stories of Lions’ exemplary service. Lions in Kobe are helping lead these relief efforts, utilizing their expertise in earthquake relief and recovery from the 1994 disaster. They have created a map to coordinate how Lions have been affected, as well as how they’re helping.

Staff spoke to Lions on March 15: “The damage differs from place to place. Lifelines are mostly restored, but there is a gas shortage. I can’t travel far in my car to assess the needs and damage,” said Lion Tsugumichi Hata, who lives in Sendai.”During the middle of the call, a 6.0 earthquake struck in Tokyo and was felt in Sendai. “This disaster hasn’t stopped; it’s still ongoing,” said Hata.

“I just returned from Christchurch, New Zealand, and I thought I had seen it all, but this is unbelievable. Looking to the extraordinary dimension of this earthquake and tsunami, Lions and our Foundation are committed to providing immediate and long-term relief. Lions of Japan are often the first to respond to other disasters, and I ask all Lions of the world to show their solidarity and help the Japanese Lions during their time of need,” said Eberhard J. Wirfs, Chairperson of Lions Clubs International Foundation.