Shine Light

Maspeth Lions Raise Funds For Disadvantaged

story and photo by Ralph Mancini

When he’s not busy operating his funeral home at 72-27 Grand Avenue, Joseph Papavero Sr. is typically lending a hand to the Maspeth Lions Club in the group's multitude of fundraising endeavors for worthy causes. When he’s not busy operating his funeral home at 72-27 Grand Avenue, Joseph Papavero Sr. is typically lending a hand to the Maspeth Lions Club in the group's multitude of fundraising endeavors for worthy causes. A community stalwart since the 1950s, the Maspeth Lions Club (MLC) has been committed to raising funds for the disadvantaged, such as those who are blind or visually impaired, to help provide them with the services they need to be as self-sufficient as possible.

Joseph Papavero Sr. and his namesake son have been at the forefront of organizing events to help the Journey for Sight and Seeing Eye programs, as well as other organizations, to collect the necessary dollars to help the blind get the proper medical care.

Every two years, MLC donates $6,000 to Seeing Eye to train a dog that will eventually be paired with a blind individual in need of assistance. In the event where a dog does not make the grade in its training, they would often go on to serve in the NYPD.

The younger Papavero, who functions as MLC’s public relations chair, told the Times Newsweekly about his branch’s involvement with the Lions Club International’s eye bank, which helps North Shore-Long Island Jewish Hospital supply people with eye donations. Most recently, the Maspeth-based group has even provided funding used for cornea transplants to help restore sight in patients.

In addition, the Maspeth branch supports the Visions program, which is aimed at instructing people that have gone blind to get around autonomously in their daily lives.

“It’s a good feeling that it gives to our members to see how the program we’re working for is actually benefitting people,” said Papavero, who spoke of Seeing Eye ceremonies where a guide dog is introduced to its new owner for the first time.

“There are times when we get a letter from a local person telling us their dad has lost his sight and if there’s any way we could donate a walking stick,” he added. “We try to help those people with what they’re asking for.”

The Maspeth club, which boasts 30 active members, is currently in the process of forming a Leo Club consisting of teens and young adults, ranging from the ages of 12 through 18.

The younger version of the Lions Club will reportedly be monitored by the elder association and have its own elected officers.

All Leos will be expected to contribute in MLC’s fundraising endeavors and also work on their own dollar-generating initiatives down the road.

Through their work, several Leos will be able to fulfill community service requirements set by their respective schools.

Upcoming fund-raising events include a Saturday, Oct. 23 dinner and show, where stage actors will perform skits from the 1950s television classic The Honeymooners.

The Maspeth branch will also sponsor the annual Ragamuffin Parade on the night of Halloween.

For more information on future events, call Lion Murray Molina at 1- 917-287-0227 or visit http://www.maspethlions.org/.

The Maspeth Lions regularly meet at O’Neill’s Restaurant, located at 64-21 53rd Dr. on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month.