In the midst of other holiday shoppers recently darting about at the Walmart Supercenter in Eureka, members of the West St. Louis County Lions Club gathered items to purchase and donate to Missouri School for the Blind students.
Lion member and Eureka resident Bryan Kiefer said the group has been doing this holiday gift project for the school's students for the past decade.
He said it was an extension of the Lions Club collecting unwanted eye glasses as a community service effort. "We do fundraisers with almost 60 members, and the money all goes back to the community for projects, such as these annual holiday gifts and for scholarships, with no gain for the club," said Kiefer.
All Lions Club members contribute, in one way or another, he said.
Missouri School for the Blind administrators choose the children who will receive the donated gifts. The present bags will be delivered Dec. 22.
Kiefer said they bought about $1,500 in gifts and shoes this year.
"This makes it a joyous time of year, to help others who have limited sight or cannot see. It really warms your heart to do this and the presentation is even more powerful than that," he said. "Walmart employees really did a bang up job, too."
Barbara Beal, community relations director for the school, said: "We’ve been working with the Lions for several years, and they have been so good to our students. Over time, they’ve bought gifts for many of the same kids each year, and so they get to know them and see them grow up."
She said it is wonderful for their students to feel so loved and taken care of by the Lions. "They know there’s someone out there looking out for them."
Editor's Note: Missouri School for the Blind is operated by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The school is located in St. Louis at 3815 Magnolia Ave.