The Lion’s Den has a little book nook. Photo / Supplied
When Dannevirke Host Lions decided to open a charity shop, they never dreamt just how successful it would be.
The Lion’s Den opened officially in July 2021 and since then the club has raised thousands of dollars for the community.
In the 2021/22 year, they raised $38,000 and in the 2022/23 year, the amount raised increased to $49,200.
“These are figures never dreamt of and have given Lions the opportunity to offer real assistance at the most challenging of times,” club president Barbara Ferguson said.
Thanks to Covid-19, many of the club’s planned events in 2020 had to be cancelled, she said.
“The annual Smallholders Auction was cancelled along with Lions Easter Bun Run and street collections. Many other initiatives had been quashed by new health and safety regulations.”
Ferguson said the club had been strong and active since 1962 and members would tackle anything offered to raise money for the community.
That included paddocks of marigolds, haymaking, building demolition, raft races on the Manawatu River and even an elephant race down High St.
Since then, the club has done much for the community including building barbecues and walking tracks.
Their annual book sale was also very popular, raising a good amount of money.
In May 2020, a member who had just joined suggested a charity shop, based on an idea he’d seen elsewhere and while other members weren’t fully on board, his perseverance paid off.
The first garage sale was held in an empty villa owned by one of the members and was a great success, Ferguson said.
“Two or three more sales were held there before the property was bought and Lions were without a venue.”
A large, empty building in High St became available and the club moved there in June 2021, opening the Lion’s Den with an official ribbon-cutting in July.
Of the 45 club members, only five had retail experience, Ferguson said.
“The learning curve was swift but not savage.”
While Covid did force the closure of the den occasionally, the club has been opening the High St store on Thursdays and Saturdays.
The rest of the week club members attended to other duties, including picking up furniture and household goods.
“Sometimes complete house lots,” Ferguson said.
The den has four sections: furniture and kitchen/dining, tools and sports, music and a book nook.
“The Den fulfils a need as over past years Dannevirke, like many other rural towns, has lost so many shops.”
She said they had first wondered how they would fill the huge space but within weeks it was “bursting at the seams”.
“The generosity of the local community is astounding,” she said “Everything in this building has been donated.”
Funds raised throughout the year are donated back to the community.
Ferguson said apart from the annual donations, Lions also offered a grant scheme to which any local organisation could apply, so long as their principal aim or activity was of a charitable nature.