The Yelm Lions Club has been serving the community for more than 80 years with a variety of activities and programs that have benefited the people who live here.
Kathryn Cullum, treasurer and past president of Yelm’s Evening Lions Club Branch, said the Yelm Lions are putting on several events this year, not the least of which are the club’s Movies in the Park events at Longmire Park.
Cullum said the goal of Movies in the Park is “to have family friendly, free activities for families to do during the summer.”
She said many will likely be seeing these movies for the first time.
“Going to the movies is expensive,” Cullum said. “We have some people where Movies in the Park is where they will see the ‘big’ movies.”
This year, the club will be showing “Back to the Future” at 9:15 p.m. on July 13; “Elf” at 9 p.m. on July 27; “Coco” at 8:45 p.m. on Aug. 10; “Mary Poppins Returns” at 8:15 p.m. on Aug. 24; and “Incredibles 2” at 8 p.m. on Sept. 7.
Other activities and events the Lions Club will be part of this year include Jazz in the Park, a cornhole tournament and a swap meet.
Many people think of the Yelm Lions Club as one unit, but in actuality it is three entities; the Evening Branch, the Lions Midday Branch and the morning group.
The evening group is the founding Lions Club group in the area. It is the central point of organization for the club and helps oversee the affairs of the other two groups.
Some of the key events that the evening group is organizing include Movies in the Park, in addition to the vision and hearing programs, where the Lions Club takes old eyeglasses and hearing aids and then recycles them for those in need. The evening group also does the Christmas Store, which operates in December.
“We collect donations from local businesses and community members, along with some of the money that we have raised, and purchase items for kids to give their parents,” Cullum said.
So the family will arrive and the kids will go pick out a present, one for each guardian, while everyone enjoys a pancake breakfast.
The evening group meets at 6 p.m. the first Monday of every month at the Carlson Cabin on Yelm Avenue.
The Midday Branch is comprised mainly of business folks who find a lunch meeting convenient, Cullum said. Among other programs, the members of the Midday Branch put on the annual Christmas toy drive and organize a free movie at Yelm Cinemas using money they have raised.
The Midday Branch meets at noon on the fourth Thursday of each month.
Finally, the morning group meets at 7 a.m. on the third Tuesday of every month at Mr. Doug’s. It supports the other two groups and is currently organizing its own efforts.
The evening and midday groups also donate to Yelm Dollars for Scholars and the Rotary Club of Yelm’s 10 Weeks of Summer food aid program. The groups have helped the Yelm Police Department purchase bus passes to help the homeless population get to Olympia where there are more aid organizations.
“We are always looking at how can we help the students in the community as well,” Cullum said.
Specifically, the groups help ensure that hygiene kits are stocked at local schools.
She said that being a teacher in the community has helped her see a need regarding the overall welfare of her students.
“There is only so much schools can do … organizations like Lions Club can be one of those organizations that provide help,” Cullum said.
She said she got involved in these and many more events that the Yelm Lions Club has hosted because she wanted to make a difference.
“I wanted to get involved in the community, that was a family tradition for me,” Cullum said.