Editorial: Civic Clubs make a difference through charity, civic engagement

Our local service clubs don't get a lot of attention. Most quietly go about their efforts, raising funds for important projects or scholarships and providing educational opportunities for members to become better and more informed citizens. These organizations play an important role in the community.

In recent weeks, hundreds gathered at the Arena Building in Cape Girardeau for the Noon Optimist Chili Day and the Lions Club Pancake Day.

The Optimist Club raised $18,000 to $20,000, according to Cape Girardeau Mayor and Optimist member Bob Fox. The total raised was about the same as previous years, he said. The big difference was in how food was delivered. With many conscious of COVID-19 precautions, more individuals chose the drive-through and take-out options as opposed to dining in. The Optimist Club focuses their charitable efforts around youth activities and has supported community projects like Melaina's Magical Playland and the skate park.

The Lions Club hosted their 83rd annual Pancake Day on March 17. About $33,000 was raised from the event with approximately 3,500 meals served, according to Lion Club member Brandon Cooper, who added that sales were so strong the group used all 900 pounds of sausage on hand and nearly ran out of pancake batter. The Lions raise funds for local children's charities associated with eyesight and diabetes. Like the Optimist Club, the drive-through option was very popular this year -- something the club will likely continue post-pandemic.

There are many other service clubs in the area, each doing equally important work in the community through philanthropic efforts and general civic engagement. If you're a member of one of these clubs, we salute you. Thank you for getting involved in your community. Thank you for serving. Your organizations make a difference.