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Left to right:  Lions Ronnie Deshazo, James Mahaffey, and Jerry Galloway in 2019.  They are some of the Lions who will be smoking and selling turkeys this Thanksgiving.  Money from the turkey sales goes to help fund the Lions' Christmas Sharing program.  The Lions began taking orders for turkeys on Wednesday.

The seemingly endless COVID pandemic that has forced the cancellation of countless events in 2020 has claimed another casualty.  Dumas Noon Lions Club Boss Lion Kelly Legg said Wednesday that the club's board of directors had decided in their most recent meeting that the traditional post-election pancake supper that the club puts on in the evening of election day during presidential election years would not take place this year because of the increasing numbers of COVID cases in the county.  Active cases in Moore County had risen to 109 by the beginning of the week.  

Though Legg said that the supper is not normally a huge money-maker for the club, money raised from the event does go to support Lions Club charitable giving.  Earlier in the year, the Lions had to cancel Dogie Days, by far their largest fundraiser, for the first time in the event's more than 70-year history.  Legg said that the resultant cut in income has meant that the club has only been able to give about half the amount of money this year to local charities that it did last year.  Last year, the club gave more than $100,000 to over 50 non-profit organizations, including Meals on Wheels, Snack Pack for Kids, and the Lions' eyeglass donation program.  The organizations have had to scramble to make up for the loss of Lion money.

Despite the cancellation of the pancake supper and Dogie Days, one event will still go on this year:  the annual Christmas Sharing program, according to Legg.  Last year, the Lions provided Christmas presents to 47 local children from 17 families who otherwise would have had a bleak holiday.  The Lions also gave each family a $100 food voucher and a smoked ham so that they could have a traditional Christmas dinner.  

The funding for the program comes from donations and from the sale of smoked, Thanksgiving turkeys, said Pam Cox, the Lion who heads up the program.   On Wednesday, the Lions announced that they had begun taking orders for the turkeys.  Ronnie DeShazo leads a crew of Lions who brine, season, and smoke large, 18 to 20 pound turkeys in the club's smoking trailer.  Last year at Christmas they smoked hams instead of turkeys; Legg said the hams will be back this Christmas as well.  Each turkey cost $50 and will be available to be picked up at the Lions Club building on Porter Avenue on November 25.  This year, the Lions are taking credit and debit cards for payment.  Anyone interested can place an order by sending an email to dumasnoonlions@gmail.com or call 806-433-3921.

Cox said the Christmas Sharing event is very rewarding.  "These are people who are having a rough time … we had one family where the husband has been really sick.  They weren't going to get to have anything this year," she said last year.

In normal years, Santa Claus and the Lions deliver the presents in person on Christmas Eve.  There is little to no social distancing as people crowd into sometimes small houses handing presents to people, posing for pictures, and sitting on Santa's lap.  That will change this year.  "We probably won't be able to do that," said Cox.  "We still want to help some people, we are just going to have to figure out another way."

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