The Lions Step In
Local Lions address both needs through “Bag-A-Burger” feeding projects that help kids learn to care for the environment. During each project, Lions bring in a caravan with supplies and portable grills. “We pick an area that needs cleaning, generally in the poorer areas of our district,” says Michael O’Neill of the Paarl Lions Club. Lions work with community groups to get kids to participate. “We issue kids gloves and plastic bags,” says O’Neill. Once kids fill a bag with trash, they bring it to the Lions preparing food and cold drinks. “Lions cook the burgers, cut the rolls. It doesn’t take long to serve up 150 burgers,” says O’Neill. Lions usually get 60-75 kids aged 12 or younger to participate. The older children may fill two or three bags, while younger kids fill only half a bag, but everyone gets a burger.
“It is so easy to come here on a Saturday morning and within two hours we’re done. It takes only a little time and a little effort to do a lot,” says John Clift of the Paarl Lions Club. “We hope in time that they will actually learn not to litter but to pick up things and keep the area clean. It’s lovely and an easy project any club can do.” As the kids finish their lunch and go out to play, they and the Lions can see that together they made a difference.
Lions work with local governments, which provide the gloves and bags and pick up the trash after the clean up. Lions also work with community organizations that publicize the events and get the kids to come out for the clean-up and lunch. And with schools to organize clean-ups at school grounds.