Oakdale Lions History, Part IV: 1970 To 1985
The times are changing. The Oakdale Lions wishes to thank The Oakdale Leader for access to its archive library which was instrumental in preparing this history. This period saw rapid changes in world events and back in the USA. During this 15-year period, the following major events helped to shape our world. Vietnam War ends, President Nixon resigns, Watergate, Walt Disneyworld opens, oil shortages, Roe vs. Wade.
On the economic front, inflation became out of control rising to 15 percent, interest rates rose to near 20 percent and eventually, a recession arose and inflation dropped to four percent, interest rates ended 1985 at 10 percent (prime rate). This period of history also saw a rise of Terrorism, not known to our world before as America began to face the reality of a new enemy of freedom – an enemy without borders.
Back in Oakdale, the Oakdale Lions had become an integral part of the community. At the beginning of this period, the following annual projects and fundraisers continued.
Fundraisers: Annual Flag billing to retailers, Pancake Breakfast, Calendar Project. Each year, some new fundraisers came along at certain events, yet in all cases, 100 percent of the funds received from the community were returned to the community. One fundraiser that was dropped was the Gum Machine program – as people no longer bought gum from these gum ball machines.
Annual Projects that received funds and service labor: Flags, Eyeglasses for the needy, Camp Scholarships, College Scholarships, Community Sharing, Student Speaker Contest, AFS Exchange, food and clothing to the needy during the holidays.
Also, during this period, the Lions added the following new annual projects: All Star Football games (started in 1974), PTA Carnival involvement, Jr. Miss Pageant (started in 1973), Mexicali Mission Trips (1977).
Special Projects were many during this period, including: Bleachers for the swimming pool (1970), Lights paid for and installed at High School Tennis Courts (1970), Restroom at Wood Park (1971), Swim Team ropes (1971), Fire Department Resuscitation equipment (1972), Bleachers at High School (1972), Eye Mobile (1974), Plant Trees in downtown (1974), Community Service Center Furnishings (1976), Youth Building Upgrades (1975, 1981, 1982, 1984), Basketball Court at Brennan Park (1983, 1984, 1985). Inside lights in Jr. High Auditorium (1982), Foothill School’s ball field (1982, 1983), Gilbert Park Ramp (1985) and other projects for other years not mentioned.
Community Sharing has slowly become a part of the Lions projects. This program during the 1970-1985 was just getting off the ground. Food donations and purchases were just enough to cover the weekly food giveaways to the needy – such that there was virtually no food leftover at the end of each week. This program moved a few times during this period, always seeking out free options, which were usually given by local churches. Today, this is much different. Community Sharing today is located at 579 Center Street, a much larger program today versus back in 1985. Back in 1985, the Community Sharing program provided weekly food boxes to up to 50 to 75 families per week, while in 2018, a total of 250 families receive a weekly box, bag and more of food and other items, plus they can get free clothing and personal items in an adjacent room for this program. Back in 1985, a few Lions served there every week; in 2018, a range of eight to 14 Lions and their wives work weekly at this program.
The Oakdale Lions Club is marking its 75th anniversary this year and, as part of the celebration, Lion Damon Woods is compiling a history of the organization. Look for his articles the first Wednesday of each month in The Leader, as the actual anniversary date approaches.