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Jonesboro Lions Club starting as a cub

Lions Club District 18-E governor Max Gallman (from left) and McDonough Lions Club member Jeremy Lang explain the group's mission to charter members of a proposed Jonesboro Lions Club Thursday.

Lions Club District 18-E governor Max Gallman (from left) and McDonough Lions Club member Jeremy Lang explain the group's mission to charter members of a proposed Jonesboro Lions Club Thursday.

— The proposed Jonesboro Lions Club got off to a modest start Thursday with fewer than a handful of residents attending an interest meeting, but officials said that is not a bad thing.

In fact, Lions Club International representatives prefer to have a handful of people in the beginning so they can build a club around that group. So far, there are about seven people interested in starting a Jonesboro Club although not all of them could make the meeting, said Lions Club District 18-E Gov. Max Gallman.

Two charter “Lions” and one prospective “Lion” attended the meeting at First United Methodist Church of Jonesboro.

“We try to get four to six members at first to act as a nucleus and they can meet with them,” Gallman said. “They can then go and invite their friends, family members, co-workers and anyone else they think might be interested in joining their club.”

The prospective club isn’t officially a Lion’s Club yet. McDonough Lion’s Club member Jeremy Lang said the group will need 20 members before it can be chartered as a club. Lang and Gallman are meeting with the Jonesboro group every Thursday at 11:45 a.m. at the church to help get it started. The church is located at 142 South Main St.

There had been a Lions Club in Clayton County but that was several years ago and it has since died out, Gallman and Lang said. The proposed Jonesboro club would be the only one in Clayton County.

Watkins Funeral Home President Anthony Watkins and tax accountant Ann Singleton are the only charter members for the new club who attended Thursday’s organizational meeting. State Rep. Mike Glanton (D-Jonesboro) also attended and began filling out the paperwork to become a member.

Lang said there is an initial sign-up fee of $67, which includes dues for the first six months. After that, he said Lions Club members will pay dues of at least $37 every six months, although that could be higher based on what the Jonesboro Club sets as its club dues.

“The McDonough club’s dues are higher than that, but that’s because we include the cost of the meals we eat at our meetings,” he said.

Gallman and Lang said Lions Clubs in the surrounding area saw a need to start a club in Clayton County because the other clubs were receiving a growing number of requests for help from individuals and groups in the county. He said a Jonesboro club has been in the works for a year but he and Gallman really began the groundwork in recent weeks.

“While we won’t turn them away, we felt it would be more helpful if there was someone in the community they live in to help them,” Gallman said.

Singleton said it wasn’t that the other clubs, from places such as McDonough, Griffin and Peachtree City, don’t want to help Clayton County groups and residents. The growing demand was taking those other clubs attention more and more away from their own communities, she said.

“They want to help but they can only do so much,” Singleton said. “We need to have a club here so they can focus more serving their own communities.”

Gallman and Lang urged the club’s charter members to find a cause in Clayton County to take on as its special project. They said the club will also be expected to participate in Lions Cub International’s efforts to provide eyeglasses to those who can’t afford a pair.

Watkins said the service aspect of the group is the key reason he and other charter members decided to bring Lions Club back to the county.

“We’re trying to meet a need here for this type of organization,” said Watkins. “We’re going to see what the specific needs are here that we should address. We want to be able to give something back to the community.”