Holiday Travel Tips from Lions Pride

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We are quickly making our way through the month, which has left asking where Winter Drivignon earth has December gone? Hopefully, by now, you have started checking items off your unusually long checklist – wrapping presents, sending cards and baking treats. Soon, it will be time to develop your travel schedule.

Whether you are traveling near or far this holiday season, we want you to arrive at your destination safely so we have compiled a list of driving tips to keep in mind as you make your holiday travel plans:

  • Add basic maintenance to your list

According to AAA, you should give yourself at least one week to check the tire pressure, replace wiper blades, fill up your windshield washer fluid and test the battery. Don’t hit the road until you are confident that your vehicle is ready for the trip!

  • Check the extended weather forecast

We don’t have to tell you that Wisconsin weather is unpredictable. Remember just a few weeks ago when we saw nearly 60-degree temps early in the week followed by single digits within 48 hours? Be sure you know what kind of whether you will be driving through and plan to leave early, if necessary.

  • Get comfortable with winter driving techniques

Although we don’t currently have fresh snow on the ground, nearby roads may still be more slippery than usual. Increase your regular following distance from one car length to a couple. Also, avoid skids by accelerating slowly.

  • Bring along your emergency road kit

AAA suggests adding an emergency road kit to your luggage. Not sure what to pack? Look back at one of our past blog posts to get reacquainted with the idea. Remember, tis the season to be prepared.

  • Take breaks

Would you believe the average Christmas long-distance trip is 275 miles in the United States? If you are traveling long distance by car, don’t forget to include breaks. Breaking up your trip will keep you more alert when you’re on the road.

  • Above all, don’t forget to be patient

We know that you’re anxious to reach your destination to be with loved ones, but remember that everyone wants you to get there in one piece. Exercise caution when out on the road.

Safe travels from Lions Pride!

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Celebrate the Season of Giving with St. Nick

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While we may not have any white, fluffy snow on the ground (as ofStockings Were Hung writing), there is no question that the holiday season has arrived. Yesterday was the celebration of St. Nicholas. Although the holiday is a popular one in Europe, the day isn’t widely celebrated here in the United States, and we think it’s time to change that!

The story of St. Nick goes back to 4th century Greece. Nicholas of Myra officiated as a bishop after dedicating his life to giving to others. Sadly, his parents died in an epidemic when he was young. With his extensive inheritance, Nicholas decided to use his wealth to help the less fortunate. His signature act was leaving gold coins in people’s shoes around the city. Today, children leave out stockings or shoes on the eve of St. Nicholas and awake to find them filled with small gifts and trinkets. Of course, there is always the possibility that those who have been naughty will find nothing more than a lump of coal.

We may have missed the official holiday, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate the true meaning behind the season – focusing on giving more than receiving. Sometime in December, consider surprising your loved one by filling his or her stocking with fun, little gifts. There are endless possibilities for stocking stuffers – candy, jewelry, small toys, soap, notebooks, key chains and more. You can also include other intangible gifts such as a donation to their favorite charity in their honor.

By choosing to make a gift to Lions Pride, you can help us work to continue improving the lives of people all around Wisconsin. Your donation can help preserve, protect and provide for Lions Camp and all other WLF statewide projects – including eyeglass recycling, adult and children’s vision screening, diabetes education and more. If there is a project that is especially important to you or your loved one, simply designate the gift, and you can rest assured knowing that you’re helping the cause. Print the certificate and add it a stocking for a powerful gift that also gives back.

Together, we can all embody the spirit of St. Nicholas by remembering to include compassion and charity in our daily lives. After all, isn’t that the reason behind the season?

Happy Holidays from Lions Pride!

 

Shop Pride With Your Holiday Shopping

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Thanksgiving has officially come and gone, do you know what that means? The holiday shopping season has arrived and coming in at full force. Although Americans took advantage of cyber savings and rock-bottom in-store promotions over the weekend, many of us will take the majority of the next month to complete our holiday shopping.

While you are making your list and checking it twice, you can support Lions Pride with all of your online shopping without spending any more than you anticipated. How might you ask? By using Goodshop or Amazon Smile. Here’s how you can get started today:

Goodshop

Goodshop is an online shopping portal that allows you to donate to your charity of choice with every purchase you make. Whenever you make a purchase with Goodshop, a percentage of your sale is donated to your charity of choice.

Goodshop helps you find coupons and deals with businesses all over the web. Not only are you raising money for your favorite charity, but you are also saving money. The funds to operate Goodshop come from advertisers, so there is no cost for you to sign up.

Goodshop

Getting started is easy! Simply visit http://www.goodsearch.com/choosecause and search for “Lions Pride.” Next, select “Lions Pride Endowment Fund.” After initial setup, you can choose your favorite stores, and Goodshop will alert you each time there is a new coupon or sale. Is there anything better than easy shopping?

Amazon Smile

Whether or not you are a frequent online shopper, you are more than likely more than familiar with Amazon. Where else on the internet can you get a New York best-selling novel, landscaping pipe drain, four-pack of wool socks and gift for your brother-in-law all in one shipment? Now, you can support Lions Pride with all of your random, online shopping trips.

Amazon Smile

Each time you shop at smile.amazon.com, Amazon donates half a percentage of your purchase price to Lions Pride. Keep in mind that you will need to start at smile.amazon.com every time you shop to support your favorite charity. When you shop, Amazon gives. Bookmark it today!

Whether you decide to use Goodshop to find the best online offers or prefer to get everything all in one place with Amazon Smile, we hope you’ll consider choosing Lions Pride as your charity of choice. Together, you can help us ensure the future of Wisconsin Lions Camp and all other WLF statewide projects. Every online purchase can help us make a difference in the lives of people all around the state of Wisconsin.

Thank you for your continued support, and happy shopping!

 

 

A 2017 Thanksgiving Message from Lions Pride

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Today is a day to give thanks. Thanksgiving is one of our favorites times of the year Pumpkinsbecause it allows us a chance to reflect on all of life’s blessings. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, we had some time to think about all that we’re thankful for here at Lions Pride. In 2017, we’ve been able to help financially support the Wisconsin Lions Camp and all WLF projects, which resulted in opportunities to:

  • Send over 150 Wisconsin children to Lions Camp this summer where they were able to learn lifelong skills that will serve them well beyond their childhoods. Campers were able able to explore various outdoor activities, build lasting friendships and enjoy being kids in a fun, safe environment.
  • Collect eyeglasses that were recycled and shared with people in need from all around the world.
  • Screen the eyes of thousands of children from all around the state from ages 6 months to teenage. With early detection, we’re able to help preserve and protect a child’s gift of sight.
  • Provide local communities with diabetes education. As you likely already know, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in people aged 20 to 74, as well as a significant cause of other serious health complications. Our primary goal is to help reduce the number of blindness cases through education, early detection and treatment.

None of these accomplishments would be possible without the generous support of our donors. We would not be “Today’s help, tomorrow’s hope” without you. We are so thankful to have you support us in our mission. We never grow tired of saying “thank you.”

The Lions Pride office will be closed today and Friday to celebrate the holiday. We’d like to wish you and your family a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

 

The Great American Smokeout 2017

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Time to QuitOn your mark, get set, quit! Did you know that November 16 is the Great American Smokeout? While it may sound like the name of a tasty Southern barbecue, it’s actually a day created for Americans to encourage one another to quit smoking.

In 2017, an estimated 36.5 million Americans still smoke and tobacco remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death around the world. Cigarette smoking rates have declined drastically over the past couple decades, (from 42.1 percent in 1965 to 15 percent in 2015), but unfortunately, cigar, pipe and hookah smoking are on the rise.

The truth is there no “safe” way to smoke tobacco, but quitting is hard. That’s why the American Cancer Society declared the third Thursday of November as the Great American Smokeout, a day to challenge Americans to make a plan to quit or completely stop smoking.

Studies have found that smokers are most successful in kicking the habit when they have the right support in place, such as:

  • Phone smoke-cessation hotlines
  • In-person stop smoking groups
  • Online quit groups
  • Counseling
  • Nicotine replacement products
  • Prescription medicine to lessen nicotine cravings
  • Guide books
  • Encouragement and support from loved ones

Using two or more of these methods is exponentially more effective than using any one of them alone.

We don’t have to tell you all about the benefits of quitting smoking, but we also already know that stopping is no walk in the park. But remember that it’s never too late to quit. The sooner you stop quitting, the more you can reduce your risk of your chance of getting cancer and other diseases.

Whether you are a regular or casual smoker, we urge you to consider celebrating the Great American Smokeout with a plan to quit smoking tobacco. If you are not a smoker, but you have a loved one who is, get the conversation started. Encouragement may be just the push he or she needs to make the change. As we’ve seen, love and support can make all of the difference in the world.

Make today the first day to creating your plan to stop smoking. From all of us at Lions Pride, we’d like to wish you the best of luck on your journey. By quitting, even just for one day, you will be taking an essential step toward a healthier life.

Celebrate Veterans Day with Gratitude

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“Honoring the sacrifices many have made for our country in the name of freedom is theWaving Flag very foundation of Veterans Day.” –Charles B. Rangel

This Saturday, we’ll have the opportunity to our nation’s living heroes in the 80th official Veterans Day. Originally known as Armistice Day, Veterans Day was created on November 11, 1919, on the first anniversary of the end of World War I. In 1926, Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance and became a national holiday in 1938.

Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans, who served on any branch of the US military during peacetime or war, living or dead, but especially giving thanks to all living veterans. The US Census Bureau estimates that there are currently over 21 million living veterans in the United States.

You’ve likely already seen lots of businesses celebrating the holiday with sales and specials, but may wonder the best way to celebrate the occasion. Here at Lions Pride, we feel the best way to recognize the holiday is with gratitude. Here are a few ideas on you could thank a veteran over the weekend:

  • Write a letter

Everyone loves mail! Well, maybe not direct mail, but we’d be willing to bet you greeted your last handwritten letter with a smile. This Veterans Day, thank a vet in the form of a letter. Operation Gratitude is on a mission to show our nation’s heroes how much we care about them. And nothing says more that more than a handwritten note that can be saved forever. Each year, the organization sends care packages and letters to veterans all over the county. Find out how you can start your first letter.

  • Visit a veterans nursing home

We think quite possibly the best way to thank someone is in person! Consider contacting your local veterans nursing home to see if there are any residents who may be longing for company. After all who doesn’t love a friendly visit?

  • Invite a veteran to join Lions

You can show your appreciation as a Lion by inviting a veteran to serve with your club and reconnect with their community. In July 2013, Lions Club International introduced the Involve a Veteran Program. From now until June 30, 2018, qualifying veterans will receive waived entrance and chartered fees when they join a Lions Club. Eligible veterans include all branches of the US military – Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard personnel who are retired or honorably discharged. The National Guard and Reserve personnel who were called to active duty for other training are also eligible. Learn more about the program.

These are only three of countless ways to thank a veteran for their sacrifice. How do you plan to celebrate Veterans Day?

To all of the men and women in uniform, past, present and future, God bless you and the Lions Pride Staff & Board want to thank you for your service.

Happy Veterans Day!

Make the Most of Your Daylight Savings

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Doesn’t it seem like only yesterday that we were setting our clocks an hour ahead, and Alarm Clockspringing forward? While it may be hard to believe, this Saturday, November 4, we’ll be setting them back for the end of Daylight Savings.

We all know that life moves quickly. Although the days may sometimes go slowly, the years seem to move at hyperspeed. As a result, it’s always a challenge to get everything done that makes our ongoing To Do Lists. But since we are getting 60 minutes back in our day, we think Daylight Savings is the time to celebrate! Here are a few ideas to help you start planning:

  1. Create a new ritual

It’s always a great time to create a new ritual or tradition. Treat yourself to a night in with your favorite movie, create an extravagant meal or host a family game night. Why not spend the evening doing something you enjoy or time with those you love.

  1. Tackle an item on your To Do List

We always have expectations that we set for ourselves, but unfortunately, these expectations are not always realistic or may fall behind other priorities. If you’ve had a certain task that you’ve been waiting to cross off your list, consider spending your extra hour to complete the job (or at least make some headway.) Although it may not be as glamorous as planning a fun activity, we can almost guarantee you’ll take some pressure off yourself.

  1. Catch up with a friend

Rick Warren has said, “Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.”

We all know that it can be challenging to keep up with friends, especially if they don’t live nearby. Fortunately though, thanks to technology, you don’t have to be close to stay close. Consider spending part of your Saturday night by catching up with a loved one either by phone or email. In our opinion, there’s no better way to spend time than with someone you love.

  1. Sleep

Of course, this item needed to be added to the list! If all else fails, add an extra hour of sleep to your Saturday night. Who couldn’t use 60 more minutes of ZZZs?

Life moves quickly so it’s important to we take advantage of every opportunity to use it wisely. How do you plan to spend your extra hour?

Happy Daylight Savings from Lions Pride!

Go Green This Halloween Season

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Typically, orange and black are the first colors that come to mind when you think about Carving Pumpkinthe spookiest day of the year. This Halloween; however, we’d like to throw in another word – green. As you likely already aware, in the upcoming months, we are going to see a massive increase in the amount of waste found in the United States. Let’s help minimize the harm on our planet (and keep more money in our pockets) by coming up with new ways to stay eco-friendly this Halloween.

  • Make your own decorations

Did you know that Halloween is the second biggest decorating holiday of the year? Consider reusing your old decorations or get crafty by making your own with recycled household items. Check out these 19 DIY ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

  • Use eco-friendly lights

Light up the path to your front door by using LED lights or solar-powered lamps for your trick-or-treaters. Rather than selecting Halloween lights that will only be used one time each year, you may want to consider investing in something more versatile. Studies have shown that solar garden lights, which could save you in the long-term, with a return on investment of 47 percent over the course of ten years. Wow!

  • Reuse your pumpkin

According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Americans have created a demand for over 1 billion pounds of pumpkins each year. These pumpkins will likely get carved or used for traditional fall décor, and the get tossed. This year, don’t throw out ole Jack! After showing off your carved masterpiece, repurpose your pumpkin by using it in a new recipe. While carving pumpkins may not be as flavorful as sugar or pie pumpkins, they will still work for several recipes including vegetable stock, pumpkin puree and pumpkin lasagna. If you’d prefer not to eat your Jack o’ Lantern, there are always many other fun ways to enjoy your pumpkin.

  • Host a Costume Swap

While it may be a little too late to implement this idea, it may be one to consider in 2018. The National Retail Federation has found that the average American spends $74 each Halloween, nearly 36 percent of that total cost is spent on a costume. Rather than going out and buying a new costume each year, parents may find relief with a Halloween costume swap. The swap could be as simple as getting a few neighbors together or as large as a city-wide event – the opportunities are endless.

There’s no reason why you can’t have fun and be eco-friendly this Halloween. These are only a handful of ways to take control of your carbon footprint. How will you plan to protect Mother Nature? Let us know in the comments below.

Happy (Green) Halloween from Lions Pride!

Sweetest Day – Then and Now

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Do you ever feel like some holidays were created merely to benefit the greeting card Sweetest Day Chocolateindustry? Yes, we’re talking to you, Valentine’s Day, Boss’s Day and Grandparents Day. Well, we’re here to tell you that the next holiday – Sweetest Day on Saturday, October 21, 2017 – may fall into the same category, but it truly has a delightful message.

The holiday began back in early 20th Century as Candy Day. According to Hallmark, legends say the day was established by Herbert Birch Kingston, a candy store employee who wanted to spread happiness to people who were feeling forgotten. He recruited a team, went out and began distributing candy to orphans, shut-ins and others to show them that some cared.

As time went on, celebrities started joining in on the act, and the holiday broadened to include loved ones, coworkers and friends. Today, observance of Sweetest Day is still the most popular in the Midwest due to its origination.

How should you observe the upcoming holiday? Well, you could surprise your sweetheart with a box of their favorite candy, but there other “healthier” ways to celebrate:

  1. Write a heartfelt letter (or email)

In the last decade or so, it seems that we have lost the art of letter writing. Show someone you care by crafting a heartfelt letter. Of course, you could always send an email if you’re looking for a quicker way to display your affection; but we can guarantee that a handwritten letter is bound to put a smile on your recipient’s face.

  1. Send flowers

Did you know that aside from being pretty, fresh cut flowers and plants have numerous health benefits? Flowers have the ability to give someone an instant mood boost and aid in both memory and concentration. If your loved one has been feeling stressed at work, you can provide them support with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

  1. Donate in their honor

As you likely already know, nonprofit organizations thrive with the support of their loyal donors. After all, funds are the lifeblood of any nonprofit as it helps them spread their message and make a difference in their communities. When celebrating Sweetest Day, consider donating to your recipient’s favorite organization in their name. When you make a honorarium/memorial donation to Lions Pride, we’re happy to mail an acknowledgement card to your loved one or their family. Together, you and your sweetheart can create a legacy that will last for future generations at the Wisconsin Lions Camp and in other WLF projects.

While the holiday may have begun with candy and sweets in mind, it has truly become a day to do small things with great love. Remember, it’s the thought that counts! How do you plan to celebrate?

Happy Sweetest Day from Lions Pride!

Happy Boss’s Day to Lion Sam

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Monday is Boss’s Day – are you ready? Many employees from around the country will Sam Kochel pro temchoose to spend their day showing appreciation to their supervisors by surprising them with goodies, cards, flowers and more. To celebrate our own Boss’s Day, we’d like to recognize our boss, Sam Kochel, with a blog post written just for him so you can learn more about our fearless leader.

Lion Sam grew up in Janesville, Wisconsin, and eventually moved to Northfield, Minnesota. He graduated from St. Olaf College with a degree in economics. Later, he served in the US Army and was stationed in both Germany and Vietnam. After his service, he returned home to attend Luther Seminary in St. Paul.

He has been a part of the Lions Organization for several years. His Lions career includes service as a Past Council Chair, WLF Board Member and active member of the Rice Lake Lions. He and his wife Carolyn have also participated in eyeglass distribution missions to Mexico and Nicaragua. Before becoming President of the LPEF Board, he served as a board member and secretary.

Lion Sam had big shoes to fill after the recent passing of our chairman and founder, Dewey Carl. He has done an incredible job leading our Board of Directors forward so we can continue carrying out Dewey’s vision – to preserve, protect and provide for Lions Camp and all WLF projects. Lion Sam is always inspiring us to look for new way to support our cause. Read more about the Lions Pride story here.

We’d like to wish a “Happy Boss’s Day” to Lion Sam and all of the phenomenal leaders out there. Thanks for all that you do!