MUNCY-With the first week of 2020 officially in the books, an annual project began last Saturday and continues until this weekend.
Approximately one dozen members of the Muncy Area Lions Club began collecting used Christmas trees throughout the Muncy and Hughesville area. The community service has taken place for over a quarter of a century, said Bill Kahler, chairman of the project.
With trucks and trailers, members divvy the area between themselves, traveling the streets and roads, stopping at houses that have discarded trees at the curb; donations are welcome in any amount. After retrieving the trees, members regroup in the parking lot between Lions park and the community pool. There, evergreens are bound with twine using a tree baler owned by Brown’s Tree Farm, where member Jim Woodruff is employed.
While tree gathering ends this Saturday, residents are permitted to drop trees at the lot themselves. A handy secured donation box will remain on site to encourage donations, Kahler said. After Saturday’s final collection, representatives from the Pennsylvania Game Commission will haul the trees to the Allenwood game lands, where the pines are recycled by nature.
There, the Jersey Shore Environmental Club gets involved and builds natural wildlife habitats using the trees, Kahler explained. “It’s really a win-win situation for everyone involved,” he said.
Kahler, approaching 35 years as a Lions member himself, has headed the collection for the last four years or so. “I keep pulling the short straw,” Kahler said jokingly, when asked why he took ownership as chairman of the project. His peers chuckled along, including club president Tom Smith, and Ed Breon, treasurer.
“Tom’s been ‘El Presidente`’ for the last five years,” Breon said, who confided that his club associates refer to him as ‘Count De Money’ a character from a Mel Brooks movie. Jim Craddock is vice-president while the indispensible Steve Young is secretary, Breon said.
The group’s jocularity is evident during events and meetings. Established in June 1981, the club meets twice a month-on the second and fourth Thursdays– for about an hour at Orlie’s on South Main Street. Meetings begin at 6:30 p.m., Kahler said. The first meeting agenda pertains to business while the second meeting is reserved for guest speakers on diverse topics.
In addition to recycling tannenbaums, Muncy Lions also accomplish multiple service projects. Fundraising events occur throughout the year: most famously, the club’s chicken barbecue on Memorial Day. Others include grilling sausages for sandwiches to sell during Muncy’s Fourth Fridays and the corvette show each September.
Monies raised are distributed back to the community: Son Light House, North Central Sight Services, the summer Community Action Program (CAP), Camp Victory in Millville, one scholarship award for graduating seniors, Sunny Brook Meadows Therapeutic Riding, and partnering with the high school’s Future Business Leaders of America.
Like many other volunteer organizations struggling to build volunteer cores, they are always recruiting new members. Any male 18 years of age and older is welcome to join; dues are required, Kahler said. “More than anything, I enjoy the comraderie,” he said. “We’re not a stuffy club. We serve our community and have fun while doing it.”
Dan Foresman, a Lions Club member for the last three years, was one of a dozen men from the Muncy Area chapter who gathered discarded evergreens as the group’s first community project of 2020. “Joining the Lions Club is a great opportunity serve my community,” Foresman said.
Breon manages the organization’s Facebook page, where those interested in learning more can receive club information.