Photo: Lion President Larry Caminiti, left, presented proceeds from the annual pancake breakfast to Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger, center, and Committeeman Tony Fiore. The funds will be dedicated to the Middletown Disaster Relief Fund.

Middletown, N.J. – For members of the Middletown Lions Club, flipping flapjacks is fun, and nothing interferes with what had become a ‘Super Bowl Sunday’ tradition for the last six years. This year, the annual pancake breakfast was held on Saturday, February 2 at Applebees, clearly one day earlier than in previous years. So while this year was more of a ‘Sandy Saturday’ than a ‘Super Bowl Sunday,’  the Lions, appropriately, decided to ‘roar for the shore’ and support the Middletown Disaster Relief Fund, a 501C3 charitable organization started by former Mayor and current Township Committeeman Tony Fiore to assist Middletown residents impacted by the storm. Event Chair Lion John Giordano noted that the Middletown Lions Club has a long-standing tradition of responding to the immediate and urgent needs of the community. “In light of the destruction caused by the storm, the club did not question that the funds from the breakfast should be dedicated to helping our friends and neighbors in Middletown this year. We want to do whatever we can to help residents restore their lives and their homes,” Giordano said.

     Obviously, many others in the community felt the same way about helping friends, neighbors and even complete strangers recover from the devastation. While meal tickets were sold for $10, many attendees donated more, including resident John Kilduff, who joyfully provided a $100 Visa Gift Card. Kilduff explained that someone he had helped after the storm had in turn given it to him as a gift. “There are still so many people who are desperately in need of help here. I do not want to take this, and instead I want someone who is really in need to get it,” he said, clearly emotional. Kilduff repeated wistfully, “There is still a great need.”

     At the Middletown Township Committee meeting on February 19, Lion President Larry Caminiti presented a $2,000 check to Middletown Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger and Committeeman Tony Fiore, the proceeds from the breakfast, and noted that the club has also been helping storm victims by remediating damage to their homes on a volunteer basis. Mayor Scharfenberger commended the Lions and stated, “The Middletown Lions Club is always there for the community.”

     Information on the Middletown Disaster Relief Fund is available by viewing the websites www.middletownnj.org and http://www.middletownrelief.com or by calling the Mayor’s Office at (732) 615-2024.

     The Middletown Lions Club was chartered in 1946 through Lions International and is a volunteer service organization consisting of men and women who help the community through charitable service projects and fundraising initiatives and programs. The club assists individuals and families in need both locally and globally and administers eye screenings through the all-volunteer, traveling vision screening team - the ‘Knights of Sight’ – which provides free eye exams for elementary school children in local school districts. To date, Middletown Lions have performed over 6,000 eye exams in school districts including Middletown Township, Red Bank, Hazlet Township, and Matawan-Aberdeen. Sight preservation and prevention of blindness are key missions for Lions worldwide, and the club hosts unique fundraising events to support organizations which advocate for blind, disabled and disadvantaged members of the community. The club also engages in service projects that address hunger alleviation. Club members volunteer directly at local soup kitchens and food pantries by purchasing, preparing and serving homemade meals twice monthly in addition to underwriting free eye exams, eyeglasses, and hearing aids for those who cannot afford them.

     The club meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. For more information, visit the website of the Middletown Lions Club, www.mlions.org.