Serving the Community since 1936!
The Odessa Downtown Lions Club was chartered February 5, 1936 as the Odessa Lions Club and was sponsored by the Crane (Texas) Lions Club. The Club's name was later changed to the Odessa Downtown Lions Club as other Lions clubs were formed in Odessa. It is not certain who originally organized the Club, but it is believed that Sam Copeland of Gulf Oil Company was instrumental in the organization. Murry Fly, then Superintendent of Ector County Independent School District (ECISD), was also involved, even though he was not a charter member of the Club. He apparently joined soon after the Club was organized and was president in 1940/41. The Club first met at the First Methodist Church and was served lunch by the ladies of the church.

It met at several other locations during the years including the First Baptist Church, the Elliott Hotel, the Lincoln Hotel (later known as the Inn of the Golden West), Villa Del Sol, the Holiday Inn Holidome, and finally to the Holiday Inn Parkway. For many years some of the Club members wanted the Club to have it’s own building. In 1992 the Club bought its present building at 1101 North Whitaker. After extensive remodeling, the first luncheon was held on May 20, 1993.

Since its inception the Club tried to find ways to raise money for charitable activities. Although nothing is known of the activities in the 1930's through World War II, records after that indicate that the Club raised money by staging rodeos, minstrel shows, at least one circus, and an intramural football game by the University of Texas of El Paso. Most of these activities were sporadic and did not produce much income. Much of the funding was raised from club dues and donations to the Club, given mostly by members. For years, the Odessa Downtown Lions Club was looking for one or two major projects to raise money for their charitable activities.


 
Prior to 1970 ECISD operated the concession stands at the school district's football stadium, then located at the corner of Kermit Highway and Golder streets, but raised little or no money from the operation. In 1970 the school district decided to open the concession stand operation to competitive bidding. The Odessa Downtown Lions Club submitted a bid to operate the concession stand. ECISD accepted the bid and turned the concession stand over to our Club in the fall. Since the very beginning, the concession stands in both the old and new stadiums have returned a nice profit for the Club allowing it to pay the school district for the use of school property and have adequate funds for charitable work and giving. The Club still operates the concession stands at Ratliff Stadium.
In 1982 one of the Club members saw an article in Lion magazine about a Lions' fund raising project in Rockford Illinois
selling roses. He brought it to the attention of the Club President, Lion J. Gaines Proffitt, who liked the idea and started the Club's "Rose Day Project." The Club sells roses between Valentine's Day and mid April (to avoid competing with local florists) and delivers them in a 5-day period. The "Rose Day Project" has grown to be the second largest fund raising project of the Club.

Some of the other charities that receive support form the Odessa Downtown Lions Club include:  Boys & Girls Clubs of Odessa, Permian Basin Rehabilitation Center, Salvation Army, Boy Scout Troop 775, Meals on Wheels, Rape Crisis Center, Habitat forHumanity and the West Texas Food Bank. This is just a sampling of the organizations that receive funds from the Club. Organizations change with the needs of the Community.
The Odessa Downtown Lions Club has helped to support many charitable activities in the community from its fund raising activity. It has bought eyeglasses and paid for eye treatment for many of Odessa's disadvantaged children. The Club also helped to originate and support the West Texas Eye Bank. It also heavily supports the state's major project, the Texas Lions Camp in Kerrville, Texas. Here handicapped and diabetic children are able to attend camp at no cost to the children or parents.

The Club members enjoy helping their community through the fund raising efforts of the Odessa Downtown Lions Club and work hard to help make their community a better place to live.