Oak­dale Lions His­tory, Part IV: 1970 To 1985

The Oakdale Leader - - NEWS - By DAMON WOODS Spe­cial To The Leader

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.

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