Hardworking club hits $1m milestone

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The Gore Pakeke Lions Club has reached a momentous milestone — it has given away $1 million to groups, organisations and individuals since it was founded 30 years ago.
The club hit the milestone during its last financial year, which has just ended.
Treasurer David Stark said the first meeting of the club, which runs the cardboard, paper and plastic recycling centre in Hokonui Dr as well as a plethora of other fundraisers, was held on May 28, 1985.
‘‘They’ve been going for 30 years,’’ Mr Stark said.
The club had donated on average $140,000 annually to projects and individuals in recent years, he said.
More than 50 projects were funded each year.
Beneficiaries ranged from local organisations such as Gore Hospital through to national organisations that helped local residents, such as Starship Children’s Hospital and the Cancer Society.
Each year the club awarded 10 tertiary scholarships to Gore High School and St Peter’s College pupils, worth $1500 each.
The club sold walking poles and so far had produced 6200. When that fundraiser started, the poles were popular with those walking the Milford Track, Mr Stark said.
An annual book sale had grown in size and popularity and was a major generator of funds.
In recent years ithad contributed about $20,000 annually to the club’s coffers.
The sale of ‘‘Bulldust’’ garden manure also raised money, he said.
The biggest fundraiser was the recycling centre, which attracted a willing band of volunteers five mornings a week, Mr Stark said.
‘‘It’s actually a small business now.’’
What made the feat all the more astounding was that those working voluntarily at the centre had an average age in the 80s, with some volunteers intheir early 90s.
The club was open to people aged 65 and over, he said.
Volunteers sorted paper and cardboard and baled it.
‘‘Everybody down there enjoys it.’’
The bales were sent to OJ Fibre Solutions in Dunedin, then the product was sent overseas in containers, he said.
The price the club gained depended on the overseas commodity market.
‘‘It does go up and down a wee bit.’’
The centre processed 900 tonnes of cardboard and paper annually, he said.
The recycling centre spent between 25% and 30% of the money made from the venture on overheads such as electricity, equipment and fuel.
Mr Stark said the club urged people to drop in their cardboard and paper atthe centre.
Not only did the club distribute funds, there was also a great sense of fellowship among its members.
Mr Stark said the Gore District Council was very supportive of the club’s endeavours.