It is each Lions Clubs’ responsibility to follow the State of California and local Health Department rules and regulations regarding COVID-19.
It’s each Lion’s responsibility to determine if events are COVID-19 safe for them.
So long as COVID-19 continues to remain a threat to our members’ health and wellbeing, we recommend that clubs limit physical interaction while serving and meeting. This can be done by holding meetings outdoors while social distancing, holding meetings virtually via video conference or conference call, or with some combination of the two.
See this article on the LCI blog for some tips on how to run a virtual meeting.
We’ve found the majority of our clubs prefer to use Zoom for their virtual meetings.
A free account with Zoom offers video conference meetings:
- Up to 40 mins long (but after the meeting is forcibly ended, you can restart it with the same link)
- Up to 100 participants
- Only local recording, no streaming
- Best in class meeting features: raise hand, reactions, virtual backgrounds
A paid Zoom subscription removes the meeting length restriction and adds cloud recording and streaming, breakout rooms, meeting preregistration, and more. As of 12/2020, a paid Zoom subscription costs $15/month or $150/year for the cheapest plan.
Free Meeting Services
Here are some other free meeting services we’ve found.
- Google Meet
- CON: Requires all participants to have a Google Account, no recording, no dial in
- Jitsi Meet
- CON: Sometimes unreliable, limited meeting host controls (cannot unmute people)
- CON: No dial in
- Free Conference Call
- CON: Only up to 5 participants can share their video
Also, see this article on the LCI blog for some other alternatives (free and paid).
Also, note that if you are running an event on behalf of the District, there are additional resources available to you, such as District IT Committee support and access to District managed video conferencing services. For more information, see the District Officers page.
Lions Clubs International is working on a video conferencing system within lionsclubs.org called Connect. This service uses the same Lion Account system as MyLCI and MyLion, and is available as one of the services in the Member Portal.
Hold video conferences or chat with fellow Lions. Run through a third-party platform called Big Blue Button, Connect is currently in its Beta version and allows members to meet right away or schedule for a future time in a dynamic safe way.LCI: Digital Products – Connect
The service is not yet available to the general public, but you may request beta access from LCI.
We understand with government restrictions and the risk of exposure to COVID-19, it may be difficult for our clubs to serve. But where there’s a need, there’s a Lion, and this pandemic has brought great need in many areas.
To help our clubs succeed, we have some resources and project planners that clubs can use to plan safe and successful service projects.
Drive Thru Food Fundraisers
Food fundraisers, such as crab feeds and dinners, were traditionally a Lions fundraising staple, but local health restrictions on indoor dining have put those on hold. Clubs have adapted by making their fundraisers drive thru/pickup only, limiting physical interaction. Some tips in holding these fundraisers:
- Set up an online form for reservations, but also make sure to provide alternative means of contact for accessibility
- Accept online payments for your customer’s convenience (but remember that most payment platforms charge an additional fee)
- Make sure the pickup day has good weather, or the pickup location has ample coverage from the elements
- Partner up with a local restaurant, patrons will feel good supporting both their local businesses and community organizations
- Publicize physically and on social media: Facebook groups for your community, Instagram, Nextdoor
See some successful examples:
- San Carlos Lions, 09/12 Lobster Feed
- Half Moon Bay Lions, 10/17 Pancake Breakfast
- San Carlos Lions, 11/07 Tri Tip
- Peninsula Special Interest Lions, 11/13 Lobster Fest
- Foster City Lions, 11/14 Bingo and Lasagna
- San Francisco Cosmopolitan Lions, 11/27 Crab Fest
If you would like to set up a fundraiser but need help creating an online form, the District’s Wufoo account c/o 2VDG John is available to you. Please see the District Officers page for more details.
Packing care packages is low risk activity that even your homebound members can take part in. There are many possible recipients, and the contents will differ based on who you select. Some examples:
- Frontliners/medical staff
- Unhoused people
- Foster children
- Nursing homes
Also, care cards are not limited to those disadvantaged, sending care cards to members who you haven’t seen in a while is a great way to keep them connected in the Lions community.
Food Banks/Pantry (Delivery)
Although not necessarily a low risk activity, volunteering at your local food bank/pantry to tackle food insecurity is a much needed service in these times.
Due to COVID-19 and Shelter in Place orders, some food banks have started delivering food to their recipients, particularly those at risk for the disease. Delivering groceries poses lower risk than traditional food bank volunteering: for the most part it takes place outside/within your car, and any drop offs can be done while socially distant (ring the doorbell, then step back). Just bring your own form of transportation and be able to lift a week’s worth of groceries.
Both the San Francisco Marin Food Bank and Second Harvest of Silicon Valley accept food delivery volunteers.
Pandemic Service Resources
- LCI: Serving Safely page
- LCI: 10 Ways to Serve Safely with your Club, short list
- LCI: Leos are Serving in Innovative Ways during COVID-19
- LCI: 5 Tips for Serving Safely in your Community
- MD4: List of Community Service Projects to do during a Pandemic, long list
- D4C4: Sight Prevention/Awareness Committee: Eyeglass collection, traditional Lions service project and relatively low risk
- D4C4: UN75 Committee: onlinevolunteering.org, the United Nation’s portal for online volunteering opportunities
Pandemic Service Examples
- SV Cyber Lions: Sourcewise: Virtual project connecting with homebound seniors
- Leo District 4-C4: YouTube Channel: Storytime with Leos, a virtual project where Leos read children’s books aloud
COVID-19 Information and References
- Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- State of California
- CA Notify: COVID-19 Exposure Notification smartphone app/service for iOS/Android
- Local governments: