MONTCALM TOWNSHIP — Both the Greenville Lions Club and the 4-H program are founded on education and life experiences for local youths.
During last month’s Montcalm County 4-H Fair, the two organizations teamed up.
For years, 4-H has manned a food vendor booth at the fair, raising money for educational experiences for 4-H students, but because the advisers as well as students are often too busy during the fair, operating the booth became a bit overwhelming.
“We’re really busy during fair and (operating the booth) really puts us out during fair,” said Melanie Rodenhouse, vice president of the 4-H Council.
The Lions Club has also had a vendor booth at the fair, selling typical fair food, hot dogs, brats, hamburgers, etc., but they had not always done as well as they hoped.
This year, the two groups joined together to operate a booth, with 4-H supplying the building, booth and name recognition and the Lions Club members offering the man hours to shop, cook and serve the food.
The joint booth was a major success for both groups, raising about $9,000 total. The two organizations split the revenues evenly, each taking home around $4,500.
“That’s more than we’ve ever made at the fair,” said Bo Stevens, vice president of the Greenville Lions Club. “Boy, were we hoppin’.”
The decision turned out beneficial to 4-H as well.
“It’s definitely the most we’ve done at the new fairgrounds,” Rodenhouse said. “We were extremely happy.”
While the groups were able to raise more money, it is money that will go back into the community.
The Lions Club will use their newly generated funds to conduct community services, volunteer projects and opportunities for children.
“They are all about the children and doing things for the children,” said Rodenhouse of the Lions Club members.
Stevens said it is because of that (and admittedly lower prices) crowds at the fair flock to their booth for the food.
“They know the money is going to the community,” he said.
The 4-H Council will use its share of the profits to provide 4-H students with educational experiences such as classes, exploration days and trips to educational centers.
The two groups enjoyed the experience so much, they are already beginning plans to join forces again next year.
“We hope to have them back next year,” Rodenhouse said.
And Stevens said the Lions Club is hoping for another year as well.
“We had a very busy week at fair with both of us there,” he said. “It sounds like we’re doing it next year as well.”