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Lions Club to hand out masks

VALLEY — In the effort to help keep people safe during the continuing coronavirus pandemic, the Valley Lions Club will be giving away masks this Saturday, Aug. 15. The Lions Club will be set up at the entrance to Sylvia Word Manor, located just off the Village Square Shopping Center parking lot. They will be giving masks to anyone who stops and asks for one.

“We will start at 9 a.m. and continue until we give out all of them,” said Lions Club President Phillip Sparks. “We have 500 of them.”

There’s a broad consensus among public health experts that wearing a mask when one is out in public is the best thing an individual can do to stop the spread of COVID-19, a highly transmissible disease that has infected over five million Americans since March. More than 164,000 U.S. residents have died from it. Experts warn that if more Americans don’t wear masks in public, social distance and avoid gatherings, the spread could be much worse come fall, when the weather turns cooler and traditional flu season starts.

Founded in Chicago by Melvin Jones in 1917, Lions Clubs International today has over 46,000 clubs and 1.4 million members in more than 200 countries.

In the club’s early years, Alabama native Helen Keller encouraged Lions to be knights for the blind, a charge the club has taken to heart with longstanding efforts to promote sight preservation. Lions Clubs also promote hearing and speech conservation, diabetes awareness, youth outreach, international relations, environmental issues and many other programs. LIONS stands for Liberty, Intelligence and Our Nations’ Safety. The club’s motto is “We Serve.”