White Cane Helps Others

Carlton Metts, PDG
State White Cane Chair

White Cane is the backbone of lionism in North Carolina. Recently Social Services announced that they are unable to provide assistance for eye exams and glasses until further notice. So who do they lean on? The North Carolina Lions. They are being asked to provide this assistance, not only to the ones that fall through the cracks but now to the ones that previously qualified for their assistance programs. Without White Cane where do we go? White Cane supports our Matching Funds Program and without it would be a struggle for clubs to help ones in need.
In April of this year the Twin Rivers and New Bern Lions Clubs partnered on the Vision Van Screening Project at the Merci Clinic. We screened 196 people in two days and 70% of these had to be referred to a physician. Most of these individuals went to Social Services for assistance and 70 of these were referred back to the two Lions clubs due to funding. Wow! We were over-whelmed!
I was away from home that week and upon arriving home I checked my messages to find that my answering machine was full and I had missed 64 calls. One of the messages was from the New Bern Lions Club suggesting we get together to decide how to provide services to this many individuals. When a club normally averages two requests per month what do you do? Hey, I know Matching Funds! That’s a good idea but we still can’t afford it. Our first thought was to use up our funds and stop. Next thought is spread it around and ask those that can afford it to take part ownership with a copay. That should work. Then as we called each recipient we explained our situation and asked if they could get assistance for the copay from parents, sons, daughters, uncles, friends or anyone. In most cases this worked. Now with the help of the Matching Funds, the co-pays and extensive investigation of each case we survived. Some club members said we could use some of our club’s White Cane Funds to fulfill this need. I said no because the White Cane Funds now are used to support the Matching Funds which we were using. On top of all of this we met our White Cane goals and helped as many individuals as we possibly could.
Now, Matching Funds is normally 17% of the total expenditures but White Cane is 46% revenues. With the Budget being extremely tight what happens if Matching Funds exceeds the 17% allocated for that program. Naturally it could stop. Our bylaws will not allow us to spend funds we don’t have.
The overall budget is comprised of: Statewide Camp Dogwood Campers is 48%; Matching Funds is 17%, Vision Van at 10% and Medical Research, Organ Tissue Procurement, Public Information, Special Grants, Fundraising, Overhead, rounding out the remaining 25%.
Each district governor has set individual goals back in April at the budget hearings. Each club officer should view their district directory to find out what that goal is. Then try to meet it. If your club can exceed that goal please do so to help those clubs that are having a rough time.
One way that could help the clubs is to adopt the Stickley Awards Program guidelines and try to meet the criteria of 20% by September 30th, 40% by December 31st, 75% by March 31st and then 100% by the end of June. This could prevent clubs from running out of time if they have a bad year or bad weather causing projects to be canceled. Many clubs are using that format to help give them a time table to meet goals.
White Cane is the backbone and we the Lions are the heart that will keep that backbone strong. “Lions are Helping Hands”.


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