Vinton Lions Julie Zimmer, Bret Nelson and Mary Jo Hainstock (far right) assist Fareway manager Dave Kelchen (left) at the checkout, bagging groceries for two Vinton residents (second and third from left ) whose apartments were destroyed in the July tornado. Sherry Adams of the Abbe Center (photo center) assisted in coordinating local relief efforts.

The Vinton Lions Club has finalized reporting on support provided to Vinton families after the July 18th tornado destroyed buildings and left many families without food and shelter. In all, 35 families received $125 gift cards redeemable at the Vinton Fareway store for the purchase of food. The cards were made available through a disaster grant from the Lions Club International Foundation.

Displaced families were located with the assistance of Scott Hansen and the Benton County Disaster Recovery Coalition. The gift cards were distributed to all the displaced families who wanted them. The tornado is the second time Vinton has received a grant from the Lions Club International foundation. In 2008, Iowa communities received $160,000 and Vinton residents affected by the flood received $2,000 in support.

Since the Lions Club International Foundation was created in 1968, the foundation has awarded over 13,000 grants worldwide, totaling nearly $1 Billion dollars. The four key areas supported by the Foundation include sight, youth, disaster relief and other humanitarian efforts. The Lions Club International Foundation’s transparency and effectiveness has earned it designation as the #1 philanthropy worldwide by The Financial Times. All Foundation administrative costs are paid from interest earned on investments.

The Vinton Club contributes annually to the International Foundation and Lions throughout the world are celebrating 100 years since Melvin Jones founded the organization in 1916.