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Lions, labor groups give toys to needy

December 09, 2001

CALEXICO — Lions Club members and representatives from several Southern California labor organizations passed out Christmas gifts Saturday to hundreds of youngsters being treated at the Valley Orthopaedic Clinic here.

The Lions have been a major sponsor of the 40-year-old clinic for many years, according to Alfred Omelas, the director of the clinic and a Lion.

The Lions fund-raising efforts for the clinic over the years have totaled around $500,000, according to Lions president Charles Jordan.

The donations have allowed the clinic to build an addition to the building and buy a wide variety of medical equipment, he said.

El Centro Mayor Larry Grogan, a longtime Lion, said he appreciated the contributions of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union that made it possible for the Lions to buy a majority of the gifts.


"I think I can speak for everyone at the clinic — the doctors, nurses, technicians and others who volunteer their time, to the young patients — in expressing our thanks," he said.

Among the chapters involved in the effort are UFCW locals 1167, 135 and 324, which represent employees of Vons, Albertsons, Max Foods and Rite Aid in Imperial Valley.

Omelas said many of the medical professionals who provide care at the clinic fly into Calexico International Airport at their own expense and receive no compensation for their services.

"They are truly dedicated people who work at their regular jobs and practices during the week elsewhere in Southern California and then come here on the weekends," Omelas said. "You should see this place — it is a beehive of activity every Saturday and Sunday," he said.

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