Dec 142014

December 14 and 19, 2014 – The Flatlands Lions Annual Holiday Toy Drive, chaired by two very special Santas, Lions Gladys and Donald Pemberton, and helped by  their daughter Laura and son-in-law, George Johnson, brought holiday joy to children served by two local agencies, Harlem Dowling Children’s Services and Mercy First. MercyFirst 2014 010_2These agencies provide support services for Far Rockaway and Coney Island, respectively; areas with high concentrations of poverty and at risk families, which were further and severely impacted by Superstorm Sandy.In all, almost $8,000 was raised by the Lions to purchase toys and much needed clothing for the hundreds of children served by the two agencies. The Pembertons also organized Christmas parties at each of the two agencies, in order to distribute the toys and clothing, and to simply help spread some holiday cheer to the children and their families at this time of the year.

The first party, for the Harlem-Dowling Children’s Services, was held at the agency’s office in Rockaway, Queens, on December 14th. The party was attended by hundreds of children and their parents. There were crafts projects, where the children made special things to take home, a face painter, who gave the kids a special holiday makeover, cotton candy and popcorn making machines, and food and activities in abundance.  The children were visited by Santa and his helpers, which brought smiles all around as they handed out presents of toys and clothing. A very special treat was a surprise visit by Elmo and Anna from Frozen, who came to came to take pictures with the children, and were a smash holiday hit!  

 The second party, for Mercy First was held on December 19, 2014, at the agency’s office in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. The event was well attended by children and their families. The children played group games and had dance contests. There was plenty of food, including McDonald burgers, mac and cheese and fried chicken. Santa’s helper, Grannie Elf, assisted the children in creating ornaments to take home for their tree. Santa and helpers gave out presents of cargo pants, shirts and hats along with the toys.  The older children were given $25 gift cards to Old Navy, Target, etc., so that they can buy something for themselves.  Once again, a good time was had by all!

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

 Kudos once again to the Pembertons, Johnsons and thanks to all of our supporters, for making the holidays a little more joyous for children in need!




Dec 142013

December 14, 2013 –  Santa was joined by a large contingent of Flatlands Lion and Leo elves  for this year’s annual holiday visit to the Crown Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.    Roaming the halls and day rooms,  singing Christmas carols and spreading cheer, Santa and his helpers left gifts by every bedside.    Sometimes Santa’s helpers had to handle some special requests.  One resident asked the group to sing him the Lieber and Stoller blues standard “Hound Dog.”   And without missing a beat ( all 12 bars!), they put down a rendition that would have made Elvis proud!

Happy Holidays to all!

Photo Gallery

Dec 082012

Lions and Leos at the Crown Nursing Home

December 08, 2012 –   Flatlands Lions and Leos made their annual Holiday visit to the Crown Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Brooklyn.  Residents were given presents and were regaled with Christmas carols as the group went from floor to floor and visited all the rooms.  The residents were overjoyed to see that Santa was on hand ( aka Lion Ed Antonio), and were greeted with his signature ” Hey, how are ya?” in lieu of “Ho,Ho, Ho.”  One of the residents proudly told Santa that she was born one hundred and two years ago (back when Santa really used a sleigh!)   It was a wonderful day for the residents, Lions and nursing home staff, who helped coordinate the visit.


Dec 242011

anta made three special stops on his holiday trip schedule this year. First, he was sighted making an early visit to children from the Harlem Dowling Center at Grace Episcopal church in Jamaica, Queens on Saturday, December, 10th.  Almost a week later, on Friday, December 16th, he appeared in Coney Island, Brooklyn, to the joy of children and their families at Mercy First.  He liked his stay in Brooklyn so much, that he returned the very next day, dropping off so many toys and winter coats for children at the Puerto Rican Family Institute, that it took them three days to pick them all up  It seems that Santa came at the request of Flatlands Lions Don and Gladys Pemberton, two very special people, who have been been giving children happiness at Christmas with their annual Lions Toy Drive for many years.

he Harlem Dowling Center Westside for Children and Family Services assists about 350 children from Jamaica and Far Rockaway. The children who attended this year had their party at Grace Episcopal church in Jamaica, complete with food, dancing, games and most importantly, some quality time with Santa and Mrs. Claus, who made sure that everyone got presents.

he Mercy First celebration was held at the group’s headquarters on Avenue X in Coney Island.  The organization, which helps about 400 children, had a very good turnout.  At their Christmas party, there was plenty of fried chicken, pizza and other tasty goodies to eat. They danced and played games like Freeze, where everyone has to freezein place when the music stops.  There were other games, arts and crafts, as well as prizes. The Pemberton’s son-in-law, George Johnson, Jr., came to the party as Santa Claus and was promptly mobbed by all the children in the room. Once again, there were presents for all (a very good thing for Santa!).  Older children at the Mercy First center do not attend the party, and were given gift cards for Old Navy or for movies.
he event at the Puerto Rican Families Institute in Brooklyn was held over 3 days, with children coming in for warm winter coats and a small toy.  The staff at the Institute had asked that the money raised by the Lions Toy Drive be spent primarily on coats for the children, since many of them had not received a new coat since they were last provided for by the Toy Drive two years ago.  Many had outgrown their old coats and were desperately in need of new ones.
hildren who were not able to attend the event at their agency will not have to worry. Social workers from the respective agencies will deliver their gifts personally, to make sure that all the children have a reason to smile this Christmas.

Mercy First Photo Gallery

Harlem Dowling Photo Gallery


Dec 112011

Flatland Lions, Leos and Friends

Dec 10, 2011 – Santa was joined by Flatlands Lions and Leos elves at the Crown Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Brooklyn, to spread some holiday cheer for the residents and the staff.  With a boisterous “Ho Ho Ho – How are ya?”, Santa and his helpers went room to room, bearing presents and holiday wishes, while filling the halls with the sound of Christmas carols.  Residents in the community rooms were serenaded by the group as well, accompanied by a ukulele playing elf, named Adam! The Lions and Leos also delivered over two hundred Christmas cards and messages for the Crown residents, penned by the children of the P.S. 312 community.

There were many touching moments, with smiles and thanks and memories to carry away, but some always stand out.  One of the residents, a Jewish woman, who although pleased to have Santa and his helpers drop by, expressed some chagrin that her holiday was not represented.  As we talked, Adam began to softly strum the ukulele and to sing, I have a little dreidel, I made it out of clay… Tears began to well up in her eyes, “Oh, how that brings me back to my childhood.” she said, and leaned back in her pillow, staring out at a place and a time far away.  “And when it’s dry and ready, then dreidel I shall play...” she listened, smiling  – and you could almost see the young girl in her face and hear the peals of laughter ringing out on a December afternoon long, long ago. The music stopped, and in the ensuing silence, she looked up at us ,”You made my day, thank you so much for coming here today,”  As we walked out into the hallway, it was difficult to tell from all the beaming faces, who was more thankful.

Sometimes we forget that even the smallest things we do can make a big difference.

Happy Holidays to All.


Photo Gallery

Jul 102011

July 10, 2011 – A Day at the Races was held at Belmont Park on Sunday, July 10, 2011.  The Lions, their families and friends joined together for a buffet luncheon at the elegant Garden Terrace Restaurant, which overlooks the racetrack. The 57 attendees (our largest total to date!) had a wonderful time and raised over $1,000 for the Lions charities.

Photo Gallery

Dec 272010

December 2010Children at the Harlem Dowling Children’s Services, Mercy First and the Puerto Rican Family Institute were helped by two very special Santas to have a little more cheer this Christmas season. Under the guidance of Lions Don and Gladys Pemberton, over $9,000 was raised to provide toys and clothing to give some joy to over 700 children the holiday season!

This is the second season that the Pembertons have run their highly successful program with the Flatlands Lions.  We are proud to contribute to a cause that gives joy to so many children at the holiday season.

Happy Holidays to All.

Jan 022010

December 2009 – Flatlands Lions Don and Gladys Pemberton brought the joy of the Christmas to many children this holiday season with their annual Toys for Tots drive.  The couple, who have chaired this program for several years, raised and distributed over $8,400 of toys and warm clothing to 700 children at Mercy First Children’s Services, the Harlem-Dowling Agency and the Puerto Rican Families Group.  Children at two of the agencies were given  parties with hot food, a Santa visit and of course,  presents for all.
Congratulations to the Pembertons and to all involved with this wonderful  program.