West Salem, Wis. (WXOW) – For the last 31 years, Lions Clubs across Wisconsin collect unwanted deer hides. They sell them to help people with disabilities attend their Lions Camps free of charge.
With over 21 clubs contributing, they packed up over 2,500 hides Thursday. That number doubles the amount collected last year.
People buy the hides for use in making clothing or for decoration. A partnership allows them to sell each hide for roughly $8 each. That means the club could make as much as $20,000 to support the camp.
“It’s 400 acres, it’s got a 40-acre private lake,” Environmental Chair for Lions District 27-D2 Virgil Thompson explains. “One week we will have kids up there with sight disabilities. Another week we will have kids up with hearing disabilities, then we’ll have two weeks for kids with diabetes.”
The experience provides a valuable chance for people with varying ability levels to connect with people that share their experience.
“They’ve never been able to do anything like this and all of a sudden they are free,” President of the West Salem Lions Club Rita Thompson describes.
“They’re meeting other campers their age knowing, ‘Jeez, I am not in this alone. Look at all the other ones who are out there,’ and we’re helping them feel good about themselves with their disabilities.”
Hunters have until January 12 to contribute a deer hide to the cause. Contact your nearest Lions Club to learn how to add to their total.