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Lions Club Scholarship Dinner Raises Funds for Graduates

By Amber Ford

Lions Club Scholarship Dinner Raises Funds for Graduates

As with many of their community and fundraising events, the Mount Hood Lions Club scholarship dinner has become a staple in the community. The scholarship dinner, a beloved tradition since 2006, helps raise funds for local upcoming graduates in the community while also remembering beloved former Mount Hood Lions Club member Jim Turin.

Prepping the large meal and setting up for the fundraiser begins weeks in advance with some 25 Mount Hood Lions’ members organizing the event, which includes a homemade spaghetti dinner and raffle prizes; all proceeds benefit their scholarship program. While the Mount Hood Lions Club has several benefit dinners each year that positively impact the community and fulfill the Lions’ goals to provide service to those in the area, the Jim Turin Memorial Italian dinner is one of the most important. Large turnouts are always expected and community fellowship is important, but the overall goal is to raise money for local upcoming graduates. “The scholarship dinner is very important,” Mount Hood Lions Club member Cindi Sempert said. “The more money we make at the dinner, the more scholarships we can give out,” she added.
According to Sempert, the number of scholarship applicants varies each year (with numbers on the lower side since the pandemic). On average, the Mount Hood Lions Club sees seven to ten scholarship applicants each year and the overall goal is to provide some kind of benefit for their future educational needs. Scholarship applicants must live within the Mount Hood Villages and have attended school in the Welches district for some term between kindergarten and eighth grade. “We are looking for students who are involved in a variety of school, church and community activities,” Sempert said. “We really like to see students who are involved in volunteer service,” Sempert added.

The number of dinners sold and the raffle donations contribute to the amount of money available for scholarship applicants. According to Sempert, the dollar amount raised each year can vary, but thanks to community members attending the benefit, donations from local businesses, and the kindness of private donors in the community, funds can benefit a good number of scholarship applicants. Serving over 150 dinners, this year’s scholarship dinner is sure to hit higher numbers, giving students a better opportunity to receive scholarship money.

As the Mount Hood Lions club continues to make a positive impact on the community, they are now gearing up for their Mexican dinner which will benefit and help fund their summer swim lesson program. Winners of the scholarships will be announced in June.

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