Sunday, April 21, 2024

Knowlton Lions Club Holds True to the Motto, “We Serve”

The digital sign lets the public know when the senior center is open. Photo by C. Tamulonis 9/2023

The Knowlton Lions Club met on September 27 for its regular bi-monthly meeting at Lions’ Den 505 on Route 94 in Columbia. Club president John Stockton started the meeting with a salute to the flag, and Knowlton Mayor Frank Van Horn led the group in prayer.

The Lions Club, an international organization originally founded in the United States, in 1917, is known for fighting blindness, aiding communities, and taking care of seniors and veterans.

The Knowlton club is no different, founded in 1977, it has been active in the area through its charitable works and community service.

Lions Club Statue
En Guard’, at 505 Route 94, this mighty lion stands outside. Photo by C. Tamulonis, 10/2023

“We recently awarded eight local high school students a combined total of $16,000 in
scholarships which will be given over the course of their college careers,” said Van Horn.

Club members George James and Tom James award scholarships to local students. Photo courtesy D. Jablon

Scholarships, donations to the needy, and other charitable goals are met by the club by fundraising throughout the year. The Knowlton club’s fundraising efforts are well known in the area with the club’s food stand prominent at the Warren County Farmers’ Fair every year.

Decades long volunteer Ron Quinn volunteering as Santa. Photo courtesy of D. Jablon
Members volunteering at the annual Knowlton Easter Egg Hunt with Diane in costume. Phot courtesy of D. Jablon

There, they sell their famous roasted corn on the cob, donated by Tranquility Farms in Andover, as well as funnel cakes and lemonade.

Club member Joe Casanova volunteers on the grill at an event. Photo courtesy of D. Jablon

Charter member Bill Clifford, who has volunteered his time to the club for 46 years, makes clear that the club’s charitable efforts are a group effort.

Charter member Bill Clifford stands in front of the original charter from 1977. Photo by C. Tamulonis 9/2023

“We really appreciate the folks that donate their time and money,” he said. “We’re very thankful to everyone who pitches in, and to Tranquility Farms, who has been a huge supporter of our fundraising efforts.”

Members also sell 50/50 cash raffle tickets a few times a year and the winners are drawn at their events. The next raffle drawing will be at their annual Halloween Party at the Lions Club pavilion behind Smitty’s Liquor store on Route 46 in Knowlton. This free family event will be on October 28 at 6 p.m. with music, food, beverages, costume judging and a bonfire. The raffle will be drawn at 8 p.m.

Club member Jeff Jablon calls the raffle. Photo courtesy of D. Jablon

Besides the Halloween Party, the 15,000 square foot pavilion has been host to car shows, the annual Jersey Skyland Labrador Retriever Kennel Club Show and other events.

“We rent out the pavilion to the public for weddings, family reunions and to other clubs, besides holding community events there,” said Treasurer Cindy Hendershot, who has been volunteering for 19 years. “Our building [on Route 94] is used for club meetings, a place for veterans to gather and as a senior center for the area.”

The club makes the building available for the Warren County Division of Aging and Disability Services which offers daily lunches and activities for seniors. It also serves as a pickup point for the Meals on Wheels program which caters to the homebound five days a week.

In 2018, the club was able to raise money for a “Spot” camera. Spot is a handheld device that works on children as young as six months of age up to adulthood. It can detect a variety of vision problems including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The club shares the camera with the local schools for vision screenings and takes it with them to events to screen members of the public for free.

iane Jablon prepares to use the Spot Camera at an event. Photo courtesy of D. Jablon

“We also bring it to the Special Olympics in Hackettstown,” said Diane Jablon, the club’s
secretary. Volunteers donate their time every year at the event which takes place in May.

In addition to their charitable work, the club also helps keep the neighborhood clean by
volunteering their time to the Warren Spring Clean Up and other community endeavors.

“We maintain that big, beautiful flag on Route 80,” said member Ron Quinn, who has
volunteered his time to the club for 21 years and has been known to dress as Santa for charity events.

“Our members take care of the landscaping and maintain the plaque we installed at the
base of the flag.”

Jenna Maxman, a language arts teacher at Knowlton Township Elementary School helps maintain the little free library built by club member Fred Jordan. It sits right outside the club on Route 94 and adults and children alike are welcome to take a book or leave a book.

The ‘Little Free Library that Could’, built by club member Fred Jordan. Photo by C. Tamulonis 9/2023

The Knowlton Lions also hosts Eagle Scout events, donates to needy families on a case by
case basis, runs the Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center (donation boxes can be found at the club and the Blairstown Post Office), makes donations to local churches during the holidays,
volunteers for Knowlton’s Recreation Day, Easter Egg Hunt, and more.

“The club does a lot,” acknowledged President Stockton, “and we’d like to encourage more
young people to get involved. We look forward to inviting new members and hearing some fresh ideas.”

“We have around 42 members,” added Jablon. “Every single one of them makes a big
difference in serving the area with all the volunteer work they do.”

The outside of Lions Club on Route 94. Photo courtesy of D. Jablon

If you or someone you know is interested in joining the Lions Club, please reach out to
Secretary Diane Jablon at: jabmom6@gmail.com

If you are a middle school or high school student interested in joining the Lions Club, please reach out to: Michael Licata, Lions Club Advisor at North Warren Regional School at:
mlicata@northwarren.org

Cash raffle tickets are available by calling 908-798-7386. Tickets are $50.00 each and the next drawing will be held at their Annual Halloween Party on October 28 at 8:00 p.m.

Cybele Tamulonis
Cybele Tamulonis, Contributing Writer

Cybele is a writer and editor with more than 16 years in the publishing industry. An avid reader, you can usually find her with the latest new book release from the local library. She currently resides on a farm in Hardwick with her husband and four children. In her spare time, she writes historical fiction specific to New Jersey.