By Michele Dotson

On December 20, when the rest of their classmates were cracking the books at school and waiting for the end of the day to start their long holiday break, 17 Leo Club members boarded a bus to Lions Services on Tryon Street to help set up and serve the company’s annual Christmas luncheon.

Lions Services provides vocational rehabilitation and employment opportunities to individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

The organization, founded in 1935 by the Charlotte Central Lions Club, provided employment for the blind. Initially, the goal was to employ WWI veterans to re-cane chairs.

In 1975, the company was incorporated as a nonprofit textile manufacturer with the purpose of providing vocational rehabilitation for people who are blind and became known as Lions Services, Inc. 

Today, Lions Services has evolved into a manufacturer of products for the Department of Defense under the Congressional Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act. 

Lions Services, located at 4600-A North Tryon Street is a respected affiliate of National Industries for the Blind and has received the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Program award from the Defense Logistics Agency for consistently producing excellent quality products.

This is the third year that the Independence Leo Club, who is sponsored by the Mint Hill Lions Club, assisted at the annual event.

“I just love coming to do this,” says Leo Club president Olivia Zalecki. “It is so much fun to do all this together and serve the workers.”

Zalecki, who made a plea to her fellow Leos at a November meeting, was proud to organize the largest group of Leos to date that has come to assist with the festivities.

Leos were responsible for putting ice in cups, preparing and delivering the food plates, and assisting with clean up.

“The Leos showed a great demonstration of their willingness to serve by being involved with our traditional employee Christmas luncheon,” says Philip Murph, Vice President and General Manager at Lions Services. “Their participation allowed us to serve all employees within 15 minutes enabling everyone to enjoy the Christmas celebration. We look forward to next year when the Leos come again to celebrate Christmas with us.”

The traditional holiday meal, which was catered by K & W Cafeteria, included turkey, dressing, gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce, a roll, sweet potatoes, and banana pudding, was served to over 250 workers.




leos 1: Independence Leo Club students prepare ice cups at the December 20th employee Christmas luncheon. Students prepared and delivered food plates and helped clean up. Food was delivered in record time this year with the help of the 17 Leo members who assisted with the festivities.


leos 2: After the meal, employees enjoyed entertainment, awards, and prizes.