Home, Garden Show cancellation leaves hole in Lions Club budget

May 1, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

The Orangeville Lions Club may have to delay some of their projects due to decreased fundraising activity during the current COVID-19 crisis, but the Club continues to work toward completing projects around town.

“It will be a rough year, but we’ll make it,” said Orangeville Lions Club president Steve Warren.

The cancellation of the annual Home and Garden Show, which was scheduled to take place on April 3, 4, & 5 at the Agricultural Centre, left a big hole in the Club’s coffers.

Even with the cancellation of the popular show, the Lions still managed to come out ahead thanks to some generous vendors who contributed even after being told the show would not take place.

“The Home and Garden Show is our number one fundraiser,” Mr. Warren said. “We do a number fundraisers through the year. We have our chip truck at Ribfest and of course we are at the Blues and Jazz Festival and we have small fundraisers, but the Home and Garden show is our biggest.”

He added, “We had already paid out money for deposits for the facility rental and the other things that we normally have to get. Obviously, where we make our money for the most part is from the vendors who are participating in the show. We have our food booth there of course, so we make some money there as well.”

When it became apparent that the show would be cancelled, the Lions had to act quickly and inform vendors of the situation. The Show allows different home-related businesses an opportunity to inform the public of the products and services they offer and most businesses report a good response from being a part of the show and receive a lot of feedback from the public inquiring about their services.

“We offered the vendors their money back of course,” Mr. Warren explained. “We also said if you they want to donate their deposit or part of that, they could do that also. We did have a number of vendors who did that. It’s nowhere near what we would make on a show but it was close to around $18,000 in donations from vendors, which speaks volumes about the integrity of the people we have at the show and in the community as a whole. That was kind of a nice surprise. It does take a lot of prep work. We have a committee of around 12 members who look after putting the show together. There was a lot of hard work done. Committee chair, Pete Robinson, did a phenomenal job putting this year’s show together.”

Since the funds raised go towards Lions Club community projects, Mr. Warren said some projects will still go ahead but maybe not as quickly as they had hoped.

“The tough part of it is, the funds we would normally raise we haven’t raised this year. So it’s going to be a little tighter going into next year. What we normally do, is the money raised this year goes towards next year’s budget. It’s definitely going to put a crimp on how we are able to support the community.”

The Club will continue to work on projects, but they will have to take a closer look at how they allocate funds over the next year to get those projects completed.

Even though the show had to be cancelled this year, Mr. Warren said the plans they made will put them ahead of schedule for next year’s event.

The Lions are currently working on a project to restore the old Orangeville pool building at Rotary Park and put in some sports facilities at that location.

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