Anza Lions Club host dinner meeting to plan the year’ events

A trophy is awarded to the Anza Lions Club by Hemet Lions Club President and former Valley Regional Chair Camille Roberts for “Growth in Category B” at the Lions Club meeting, Aug. 7. Diane Sieker photo

The Anza Lions Club held their monthly board meeting and a special guest meeting and dinner at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1873, Monday, Aug. 7. The gathering was meant to share Lions’ event updates, introduce guest speaker Russell Kitchen and present awards to the Lions members.

The meeting was opened by Lions President Mimi Mackropoulos, and she discussed upcoming plans for club events, asking for input and writing ideas down for future reference. A cowboy camp out, Dutch oven cook-off, Hillbilly Days, Anza Days, a haunted house, paintball, gymkhana, rodeo, an art and wine gathering and the farmer’s fair were just some of the games, celebrations and contests covered. Suggestions were offered by members regarding dates, times, club partners and other details. Schedules will be presented as the plans are finalized.

A dinner of salad, bacon-ranch and cheddar pasta casserole and cake was served as members and visitors listened to the planning arrangements. The “Alpha Leo Club,” a Lions club for children ages 12 to 18, is also in the works.

For the 2018 Anza Days, the club members decided again to use the huge canvas banner to announce the parade and festivities. The banner will hang across state Route 371 for two weeks before the celebration.

The Lions annual essay contest to pick the Anza Days theme will be presented to schools throughout the Valley. Students are encouraged to write an essay about their chosen theme for the 2018 Anza Days. Finished essays can be mailed to the Anza Lions Club, P.O. Box 390389, Anza, CA 92539. The deadline for submission is Oct. 15. Prizes will be offered for the winning paper.

Suggestions for improving the next Anza Days included adding more volunteers for traffic control, among others.

The “Top Club” trophy was presented to the Anza Lions for largest “Growth in Category B” for the fourth quarter of 2016 by Hemet Lions Club President and former Valley Regional Chair Camille Roberts, who was accompanied by Hemet Lions Club Vice President Malia Bryant. A Category B Lions Club is a medium-sized group, with “Category A” being small and “Category C” the biggest.

“We could not have done it without all of the hard work and dedication of our new members and our volunteers,” Mackropoulos said. “Thank you! This is for all of you who help make it happen.”

Roberts also presented the Melvin Jones Centennial membership pin for recruiting and retaining membership to Lion Roland Vellanoweth, who was not present.

Lions Marty and Marde Ann Izzi presented a check to the Hemet Lions in memory of Marty Izzi’s aunts Cookie and Filomena for the Loma Linda Lions Eye Foundation vision program.

Guest speaker Kitchen is an Anza local and owner of The Soil Kitchen, a company that sells soils, amendments, greenhouses, mulches and more.

Kitchen spoke of his awakening to his market niche, his determined dedication to his new organization “Kids of Anza,” the need for water awareness by landowners, wineries and farms and his ability to offer a better soil product to help with that need.

Kitchen’s motivation for starting Kids of Anza is to give back to the community, he said. His business has been successful, and he wants to share his good fortune with others, he said. Kids of Anza organizes the “Anza Summer Nights” in the park, offering an evening of live music, vendors, raffles, a caricature artist, gaming trailer and more.

“Our kids are worth it,” Kitchen said. He hopes to offer local children opportunities he did not have growing up. “The kids are the future,” he said.

He went on, saying that the Lions were an important part of his life growing up as various members took him under their wings and gave him tough lessons in improving his work ethic. He said he is grateful for those people and their lessons, and he wants to see the bickering stop between charitable groups in Anza. For the good of the town, he said, “Everybody just needs to get along.”

He concluded his talk by thanking the Lions for their involvement in his life and the lives of so many other youngsters in Anza.

Mackropoulos closed the meeting.

“Thank you to all who came out and to our guest speaker Russell Kitchen of Soil Kitchen for taking time to come talk with us,” she said.

To learn more about the Lions’ Alpha Leo Club program, visit

To contact the Anza Lions Club, visit or call (760) 637-9173.

For more information about The Soil Kitchen, visit or call (951) 765-7760.

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