ELBURN – The Elburn Lions Club was recognized as the Elburn Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year at the Chamber’s Recognition Dinner in March.
Chamber Board President Annette Theobald, co-owner of Paisano’s Pizza & Grill and Eddie Gaedel Pub & Grill, said that when Chamber members vote to choose a winner, they look at what the business did throughout the year, how the owners and/or employees were involved in the community and what the business contributed toward bringing people to downtown Elburn.
“We have quite a few businesses that are actively involved in community events,” Theobald said. “It is always hard to pick just one.”
This year, the Elburn Lions Club received the most votes for the honor.
Railside Citrus Insurance Agency owner Dave Broz said the Lions Club has an open door to helping the community and its members are always willing to partner with the Chamber and other businesses for community activities.
“The Elburn Lions Club is a great organization to begin with,” Theobald said. “This year, they were even more involved. It is always great when businesses try to do new events.”
During the past year, the Lions Club worked with Alice’s Place owner Audrey Hanson and other businesses in town to bring the July fireworks back to Elburn, hosted two paper-shredding events, partnered with the Kaneland Foundation on a drive-thru pork chop fundraiser and hosted a fundraiser for a family raising funds for a companion dog.
“[They did] all of this, besides all of the other events they normally host,” Theobald said.
Lions Club Events Coordinator Deb Cornell said the Club worked with the Chamber and the Town and Country Public Library to host the shredding events by sharing the cost as well as providing volunteers for the events. Held in the Lions Club parking lot, the service was free to businesses and residents in Elburn and surrounding communities.
The Fourth Tuesday Spaghetti Dinner is another way that the Lions Club gives back to the community. There is no charge for the dinner, which includes salad, garlic bread and home-made desserts, Cornell said. Donations are accepted in a tip jar, which helps to cover the expenses of the dinner, and anything left over goes to the Lions Club’s charities.
Locally, the club hosts and sponsors fundraisers for individuals and families to raise the money to purchase service and multipurpose dogs that allow their owners to live more productive and independent lives. This coming year, the Club plans to host a fundraiser for a diabetic alert dog.
Hosting fundraising events typically involves providing the space, the volunteers as well as the food for the event, explained Cornell. She said that this year will be the 10th annual Friends of Jason Gould Benefit, which raises money for leukemia and lymphoma research.
Globally known as the “knights of the blind,” the Lions Club focused on programs and services for the blind and visually impaired, according to the Lions International website. Lions also support programs to prevent and control diabetes, fight hunger and other service projects that impact additional health-related issues.
The Elburn Lions recently added to its vision equipment with the purchase of a low-vision viewing machine that the club loans out to individuals. The machine magnifies items such as family pictures, checkbooks and other documents.
Lions Park is a popular place in town for children and families, especially with the updated handicap-accessible playground equipment, two zipline swings and an upgraded toddler area added last year.
The park is open and available to children in the surrounding community and provides a perfect open space for special community events, such as Elburn Days and the annual Easter Egg Hunt.
“The Lions Club is a great conduit for the business community,” Broz said. “It has a pretty cool niche in the community.”