In 1917, Melvin Jones, a 38-year-old Chicago business leader, told members of his local business club they should reach beyond business issues and address the betterment of their communities and the world. Jones' group, the Business Circle of Chicago, agreed.


After contacting similar groups around the United States, an organizational meeting was held on June 7, 1917, in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The new group took the name of one of the invited groups, the "Association of Lions Clubs," and a national convention was held in Dallas, Texas, USA in October of that year. A constitution, by-laws, objectives and a code of ethics were approved. And the rest is history.



 Short History of the New Freedom Lions Club 1933 to Present Day

How it all started:
The New Freedom Lions Club was chartered on September 28, 1933, with initially 50 members. The NF Lions Club was co-sponsored by the Glen Rock and Stewartstown Lions Clubs. William S. Grove served as the first club president. 
Community Service (We Serve!):
A highlight of some of the community service projects Lions initiated over the years include: 
  • Playground Improvements (Marge Goodfellow Park) - The very first project undertaken by the newly formed NF Lions Club was the operation of the playground. The playground lot was deeded to NF Borough with the understanding that the Lions Club would operate it (note: maintenance of the grounds has since been assumed by the Borough). Using funds granted by the Works Project Administration (WPA) in the 1930’s, improvements to the playground were undertaken and included: grading the lot, planting 100 trees, grading a baseball diamond, and installing playground equipment. Over the years several upgrades and improvements to the playground have been made, including the installation of the bandstand, the construction of a cookshack building (since has been removed), and the construction of three food-related buildings (what we call today the funnel cake stand, fry stand, and current ‘cook shack’). In 1963, Lions provided the Borough with donations to fund the installation of new tennis courts and basketball courts. In 2020, the Lions donated $12,000 to the New Freedom recreation board for new playground equipment in conjunction with the construction of a new playground. Although all buildings have since been deeded to the Borough, Lions continue to use the facilities for special events, including the yearly carnival. 
  • Eye-Related Activities - One of the major cornerstones to Lion's charitable stewardship is eye and blindness-related issues. Some of the charitable work over the years includes:
  • Leader Dogs for the Blind - We helped a local blind resident obtain a guide dog through the Leader Dog organization. We are also yearly donors to Leader Dogs for the Blind, which provides guide dogs to qualified applicants free of charge. 
  • Beacon Lodge - We annually sponsor campers to attend this special needs summer recreation facility run by the Pennsylvania Lions Club.
  • Eye Screening - We conduct eye screenings for kids at local festivals and events. 
  • Furnishing eyeglasses to the needy
  • Providing white canes for the blind 
  • Donation ($7,000) to the Wills Eye Hospital (1979
  • Donate quarterly to provide medical supplies directly to troops in Ukraine.
  •  Major donor ($25,000) for construction of South York County Library (Paul Smith Library) in 2003.
  • Major donor (over $150,000) for construction (in 1974) of the New Freedom community center and Fire Company.
  • Major donor for construction ($10,000 in 1997) and expansion of the Southern York County Branch YMCA.
  • Major donor for York Adams Area Council of the Boy Scouts Camp Tuckahoe ($2,000 in 1983) and York Scout Service Center ($5,000 from 1998 to 2002).
  • Annual Christmas Tree Lighting at New Freedom Green (and visit from Santa!) 
● Blood Drives 
● Annual sponsorship of six scholarships at Susquehannock High School for at least the past 38 consecutive years.  In just the past 11 years, the Club has awarded scholarships to 70 students totaling more than $65,000.
● Charter sponsor (since 1934) of New Freedom Boy Scout Troop #24 and Cub Pack #24 
● Charter sponsor for Shrewsbury Area Centennial Lions Club 
● Since the charter of our club, it has been estimated that we have donated over $1.4 million to local charities, including the New Freedom Senior Center, HOPE, New Freedom Rose Fire Company, Southern Regional Police, Paul Smith Library, New Freedom Gardeners, Southern York County Community Services, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Southern York County YMCA. When viewed in terms of 2023 dollars, this amount exceeds $3.56 million.   
All of these community service projects and donations, of course, wouldn't be possible without fundraising. A few of the major past and recent on-going fundraising activities include:
  •  Annual carnival held annually during July 4th week.  From the minutes of July 1934: “Held picnic and carnival on July 4, [1934] on our Playground.  Affair a huge success.”
  • Christmas Bazaar held in the community center in early November (taken over from Lioness Club) 
  • Yard sales
  • White cane day
  • Broom sales (thank you Lion Wayne W!)
  • Soup and sandwich sales. 
  • Annual Christmas Tree lighting - From the minutes of December 1959: “Our main project for this month is Santyland.  This project consists of providing a Santy Claus every night from Dec 5th to 25th inc. to entertain the children.  We have placed 3 live deer in an enclosure for the entertainment of the public.  The local community [Christmas] Tree has been placed in this setting.”
There are many more community service projects the Lions were involved in over the years. Please visit the stories section on our New Freedom Lions web page.