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Stealing Lions' cans is stealing from needy community

Editor: Last week Beverly Hills Lions members arrived at the Den to sort and bag aluminum cans. Collecting aluminum cans for recycling is one of our ongoing projects to raise money for charities we support. We have a collection box on Civic Circle Drive, and the community deposits cans in this container. Lions members take the cans to the recycling center and collect money for them.

This day was no different. Our transport trailer was unavailable, so we stacked the garbage bags of cans beside our storage building until we could transport. Later, returning to the Den, we discovered the bags were missing.

Although we are not personally hurt by this incident, the person or persons taking our cans hurt many people. Stealing our cans is, in actuality, stealing eyeglasses from a child who would be unable to see without our help. Or, stealing our cans is stealing vital surgery necessary to correct blindness for a working parent. Or, stealing our cans is stealing support from needy individuals whom we normally assist in a variety of ways.

The amount of money we receive from the cans is small, but the service we give back to the community is invaluable. We are indeed saddened that our financial resources have been altered even in this small way. Even more, we are distressed we can no longer live with trust in our day-to-day activities.

Our goal is to serve. Our members work hard at many projects to aid the blind and needy. Each volunteer subscribes to our code of helping those individuals in need. We rely on the support of our community. Now our trust has been violated and we are saddened. Regardless of setbacks, we will continue with our work and dedication. We devoutly believe in helping those individuals who rely on our Lions Clubs across the nation.

I also would like to add a word for those individuals who took our cans. If you truly had a need so great as to steal our cans, why did you not call us and ask for our help? Lions Clubs pledge themselves to serve the needy of their communities. Beverly Hills Lions Club is one example of dedicated members who work hard to assist the blind and needy.

Francis R. Hamilton, president

Beverly Hills Lions Club

Key Center should make finances known to public

Editor: For the past few weeks I have read with interest the letters and comments by both James M. McIntosh and Stephanie L. Hopper concerning the Key Training Center.

I retired in 1997 from a three-county, multifaceted social service agency. This agency, by the way, was three times the size of the Key Center. In fact, I was a member of the founding board of directors. Early on we discovered that if we had an educated public and contributors, whom we kept informed, we never feared going to them for needed support. On a quarterly basis we mailed to them, and anyone else who asked, an updated newsletter of the goings-on. On a yearly basis we also sent an annual report listing our incomes and expenses. By the way, this was not mandated by any government body; it was what we felt compelled to do.

I do not feel it necessary to list any employees' salaries at Key. That is between that employee and the board of directors at Key. As far as being called a saint, I feel Chet Cole should be honored to be put on such a pedestal.

I urge Cole and his board of directors to issue an annual report before they are mandated to do so. I do agree with Mr. McIntosh on one thing. If you have nothing to hide, don't be afraid to make it public.

Jim Miller

Homosassa

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