Organizations benefit from New Berlin Lions' share
Club's State Fair corn roast makes a difference for many
New Berlin - Ask a New Berlin Lions Club member when gluttony is good and he won't have to think twice - at least when it involves the organization's Lions corn roast stand at the Wisconsin State Fair.
The Lions have donated more than $2 million to charities since 1990, thanks in part to healthy State Fair appetites.
The State Fair closed its 11-day run Sunday and profits from the corn stand were good, despite hot and rainy weather some days and the drought that has enveloped Wisconsin and several other states. Corn sales topped out at 85,245 ears. After expenses, that will translate to $130,000 for the Lions' charities.
The first three days, plagued by intense heat and then rain, depressed sales to only 16,000 ears for all three days, said Lion Jerry Johnson, who was in charge of the sale this year. But the fair's last four days were super sweet in terms of sales.
The drought was not much of a problem for the corn stand because it buys from Poulson Farms in Palmyra that irrigates its fields. Because the Lions have a three-year contract with Poulson, the price stayed the same so the $3 an ear selling price steady since 2008 stayed the same, Johnson said.
Maybe it was the lack of rain, he said, but, "The corn was incredibly sweet," even though the ears might have been a little smaller than usual. The quality got better as the fair progressed because some rain finally came, he said. The corn is picked in the afternoon and evening and delivered at night after the fair closing into a refrigerated corn crib, so the rain could have its beneficial effect, he said.
Last year, the Lions and the many volunteers at the corn stand helped boost the Lions Club charity donations to more than $140,000.
Organizations that receive funding vary, and it isn't always obvious to the public.
Corn for books
For instance, people who check out a lot of books at the New Berlin Library probably don't know that they likely have read a book that was bought with cash from the club's corn roast.
"We get a substantial amount from the Lions Club," said Library Director Dennis Sampson.
The library uses the money to buy books and other materials and equipment that just won't fit into the regular library budget, Sampson said.
"We really do appreciate the Lions' support," he said.
The library lumped this year's Lions' gift with gifts from several community groups and bought a projector that will enable those giving programs at the library to give PowerPoint presentations in the community room, Sampson said.
This summer, the projector has made it possible for those attending the library's summer movie program to see the entire movie frame instead of just the fraction that could be projected before, Sampson said. The library already has an 8 by 10-foot movie screen, but it never had a projector strong enough to fill the entire screen.
"It has been a celebrated addition," Sampson said.
Proceeds to share
Other organizations receiving Lions donations included New Berlin Eisenhower High School boys basketball, the Eisenhower choir, dance team, orchestra, sophomore class, post-prom parents group, the football and soccer booster clubs, the New Berlin West High School poms and Spanish Club.
Other New Berlin groups and causes benefiting were the New Berlin Fire Department, the Historical Society, the Restoration Society, the New Berlin Scholarship Fund, the New Berlin Senior Citizens Club, the New Berlin Soap Box Derby, the New Berlin Soccer Club, the New Berlin Swim Club, the Holy Apostles Athletic Association and the New Berlin Veteran's Memorial Fund.
Beyond all that, the New Berlin Lions contributed to nearly 50 other causes, including a special $5,000 donation to the Honor Flights in honor of late Lions Club member Charles Groeninger who was a POW in Stalag 17 in Germany in World War II.
Other organizations receiving support included the Boy Scouts of America Potawatomi Area Council, the Center for Blind and Visually Handicapped Children, the Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the Children's Hospital Foundation, Cookies for Troops, Crime Stoppers Waukesha County, the Eye Bank of Wisconsin, Habitat for Humanity in Southeastern Wisconsin and the Salvation Army.
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