Rockton Lions Club gives back through Wimpy's Fund and through other community outreach

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Wimpy's Fund auction, 2019

This year the Wimpy's Fund Auction will be held both live and online. The live portion will start at the conclusion of the Rockton Christmas Walk Lighted Christmas Parade at American Center (American Legion), 221 W. Main St., Rockton on Saturday evening, Dec. 3, 2022.  Bidding online will open at 10 a.m on Friday, Dec. 2 and close on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 10 pm.

The Rockton Lions Club has been serving various communities since 1938.

Every year they are an integral part of the Rockton Christmas Walk as they raise funds to deliver Christmas cheer to area families in need through the Wimpy's Fund.

Baskets will be on display during different Christmas Walk events for viewing. On Friday evening, “Dueling Pianos,” which is already sold out, is returning due to the great popularity of their first year. Tony Rocker will be performing Elvis-inspired Christmas tunes during Saturday's auction.

Wimpy's Fund Chair Terrie Garlow and a team of volunteers are working hard to make this auction one to remember.

For details on how to donate or to help in any way, please call Terrie at 815-243-1053. Volunteers from the public are invited to help take the baskets to the auction site at American Center (American Legion), 221 W. Main St., Rockton, or to help with wrapping gifts. Another way that community members can take part is to Adopt a Family or to donate items or baskets for the auction. Monetary donations are also welcome.

Money raised from these auctions is used to help over 100 families in Rockton, Roscoe, Shirland, South Beloit and Harrison. The Rockton Lions finds the names of the families through referrals by local school districts.

To assure a brighter Christmas season, each family receives food, toys and Christmas gifts from the Rockton Lions Club. Items are based off of a list provided by the parents. “Every year we provide enough food to last a family at least a month or more,” Garlow said.


History

Wimpy's Fund began in memory of former Rockton police chief Everett Vaughn who served as chief from 1977-1981. He was given the nickname Wimpy based on the beloved cartoon character in Popeye who walked the streets and loved hamburgers.

Everett "Wimpy" Vaughan
Wimpy, friend of Popeye. © King Features Syndicate.

As Vaughn was helping children cross the street, he would notice that some of the children didn’t have gloves, hats, or socks. He went one step further and took the mothers of those families shopping to buy clothing, groceries and one gift for each child in need. His wife Betty provided Christmas dinner for the families. Over time they added toys into the mix.

Vaughn passed away in 1997 and his friend Jack Stewart began carrying on his legacy. Other Lions Club members have teamed up over the years to make the Christmas season special by carrying on this long time tradition.

Each delivery of necessities and something to create smiles is one that is cherished.

The website that will be used to run the event is Silent Auction Pro, the same site that was used last year. Go to https://www.silentacutionpro.com. Place a bid on awesome goods donated by various individuals, organizations and businesses.

In addition to bidding on items, donors can give directly to First National Bank & Trust, 300 E Main St
Rockton, or can be mailed to Rockton Lions Club, P.O. Box 90, Rockton, IL. 61072.

As always, the Rockton Lions are kicking off Saturday morning of the Christmas Walk by hosting Breakfast with Santa.


Throughout the year the Rockton Lions Club gives back to others.

At the Oct. 18 meeting of the Rockton Village Board, the Rockton Lions donated $20,000 to the Village of Rockton, in two different checks.

The first check, for  $10,000, was presented by Lions President Chris Weaver to the Rockton Police Department and accepted by Rockton Police Chief Matt Hollinger. It will be used to buy a “Message Center 360.” On a display the words, “Your Speed” is shown, along with the actual speed someone is driving and the words “Rockton Police” at the bottom of the sign.

Another check was presented to the Village to help build a pocket park on Prairie Street. The Village is considering naming the park in memory of Cyndy Fogarty, former owner of Cyndy's Country Cottage.

The donations were raised  from events such as Old Settlers Days, the Jack Lovejoy Memorial Golf Play Day, and the Lions Club Candy Day.

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