By Jeremy Oster
ROCKTON, Illinois — Friday, Oct. 10, volunteers from the Rockton Lions Club spent 12 hours at the intersection of Blackhawk Boulevard and Main Street collecting contributions for Candy Day.
Rockton Mayor Dale Adams remarked with a smile that “It was great weather and there was a huge turnout to help out the Lions Fund and the Rockton Library. The people of Rockton are very generous.” After all donations were counted, the Lions raised $2,950.09 this year for their charities.
The Talcott Free Library already shows evidence of the Rockton Lions Club’s continuing support. There is a magnifier for printed media in the reference section that was donated by the Lions. The Children’s Section of Talcott also has a quiet area for kids to relax and read in, courtesy of the Lions. Marianne Stenzel, Talcott’s Children’s Librarian, said, “The Rockton Lions Club has been a huge supporter of our Summer Reading Program and helping us to purchase more large print books.”
Candy Day was started in 1952 by a former Lion District Governor named Marvin Tench. Traditionally, Lions fund-raisers had been centered locally at city and district levels. Candy Day became the first statewide Illinois Lions Club effort supporting the plight of the blind.
In the first year of Candy Day, White Cane Lapel Pins were sold. The second time Candy Day was held, Cracker Jacks were elected to raise their funds. Then, in 1956, the Lions replaced Cracker Jacks with candy marked with their own Lions Club logo. Using their own unique branding instead of a more commercially branded treat garnered more media coverage and increased donations. In 2014, the familiar candy roll became unavailable from the manufacturer and a new bag of sweet and sour candies with the familiar Lions “L” stamped on them was adopted.
The earliest mention in Talcott’s records of Lions collecting for the blind at Blackhawk and Main was in 1979, making Rockton’s annual Candy Day at least a 35-year-old tradition.
Posted Oct. 21, 2014