Skip to content

Cambridge Lions Club's $30K donation will help build new playground

Surge in sales from TV bingo cards helps Cambridge Highland Lions Club raise $30,000 to help build a new playground in Hespeler
Cambridge Highland Lion's Club president, Jannette Ho, left, stands with other members of the club in front of benches they helped fund at Sault Park

The Cambridge Highlands Lions Club has been raising money for the community for the past 25 years and have now donated $30,000 to the city to help build a new playground. 

They started the process to raise money for a new playground in Sault Park in Hespeler back in 2019. 

"Before the pandemic we were set on donating to help build a park. We gathered around $6,000 and thought this would nearly cover it. Boy were we wrong," said Jannette Ho, president of the club. 

Due to the pandemic, the donation was held off, but the Lions knew they still wanted to help. Having used Sault Park to walk guide dogs in training for fundraisers and other activities, it seemed like the perfect fit. 

The club still helped plant trees at the McMeeken Drive park, and purchased a bench in the interim, but the goal was to build a playground. 

"We knew we needed quite a bit of money so we had to wait; then the pandemic happened which actually helped us raise this money," added Ho. 

Local Lions Clubs rely on the TV bingo cards sold at convenience stores to help raise funds for their philanthropic endeavours. During the pandemic as people were confined to their homes and not attending bingo halls, the club saw an astounding increase in their income from these tickets. 

While Ho cannot reveal publicly how much they were making, she can confirm that the money they were seeing from these game cards tripled at its peak. 

"It has started to come down a bit, but now we are able to donate $30,000 to help build this thing," she said. "I know all of us at the Lions Club are super excited we can offer this, because we are a community group dedicated to helping those around us." 

According to a report by the City of Cambridge, the total cost for the playground will be $217,800. The project includes a pathway from the parking lot to the playground, benches, trees, excavation of soils and construction of a playground area with a standard playground surface as well as play structures.

The remaining $187,800 will be funded from the Capital Works Reserve Fund and identified in the 2024 capital budget submission. 

While Sault Park already has a playground, this new construction will take place on the east side of the park. The city notes in its report that members of the community have been asking for a second play area for years. 

Ho wants to let the community know that they are actively looking for members as there are only eight of them at this time. 

"We host free meals, fundraisers and it's just a really nice way to give back to the community," she added. "Anyone is welcome to join and you can even start out by just volunteering." 

On Dec. 11, the Lion's will be presenting multiple organizations with cash donations to show their ongoing support for the community. Places like Cambridge Memorial Hospital, Cambridge Food Bank and others will receive donations at St. James Anglican Church in Hespeler. 

Ho notes that all of the money they get from the TV bingo must be given away within the same year and none can be left over.