Lions Clubs International has a long record of aiding those affected by natural and other disasters.
When a tsunami struck Southeast Asia in December 2004, Lions were among the first on the scene, providing immediate relief to the tens of thousands who lost everything. Again, in August 2005, Lions demonstrated how they answer the immediate needs of communities by rushing to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Through Lions Clubs International Foundation, Lions provide long-term assistance, continuing after many other organizations have left the area. Every dollar donated to LCIF goes directly to a grant. Since it began in 1968, LCIF has awarded $356.9 million to help Lions serve others.
Lions mobilized nearly $12 million for tsunami victims. In the Aceh province of Indonesia, Lions built 205 homes. They also plan to build a school and fund "economic revival" projects such as fishing boats. A $900,000 grant from LCIF is aiding Lions in Thailand in building an entire village on the devastated Lanta islands.
In Sri Lanka, Lions are building 3,000 homes. Lions also will provide psychological treatment and physical rehabilitation for children and adults.
Since many Southeast Asians lost their eyeglasses when the tsunami destroyed their homes, Lions from California distributed recycled eyeglasses and taught 125 Sri Lankan Lions how to use two donated lensometers and run an eyeglass recycling operation.
Lions also staffed shelters and collected funds, food and supplies for Hurricane Katrina victims. The Louisiana Lions Children's Camp in Leesville housed and fed hundreds of people who fled north from New Orleans before Katrina hit. Lions also helped at larger venues such as the Louisiana State University gym and the Houston Astrodome, which housed thousands of displaced people.