by Annemarie Mannion April 27, 2022Kindness Matters Service Award WinnerPaving a Pathway to HealingWhen domestic abuse victims needed help, Lions were there Now and Again, Kindness Always Matters as a LionThe 2020-2021 Kindness Matters Service Award Winners have been announced. As Lions we believe that Kindness is always in fashion. Lions and Leos are continually looking for ways to improve their community and the world around them, grounding every service project they do in the idea that all people thrive when shown kindness.The Kindness Matters Service Award (KMSA) was created to recognize innovative and creative service projects in one of the global cause areas that left a positive impact on their communities.One award winner, The Lichfield Lions Club in England, showed their kindness by extending a helping hand to the most vulnerable at a time when help was scarce.Reaching outWhen the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, Lions in Lichfield, England got used to social distancing, but they didn’t stop caring about those in need.It wasn’t long into the pandemic before the effects of all the social isolation began to take a toll on the community. The Pathway Project, a local organization that provides support to adults and children affected by domestic and sexual abuse, needed help.“When the pandemic broke out, there was a dramatic upsurge in the number of families—mostly women and children—who were affected by domestic abuse,” says Lion John May. “Numbers tripled. And to make matters worse, a number of the staff at Pathway Project were affected by COVID. The local councils could not refer the victims to where they would get proper support.”While basic accommodations were found for those in need, there was little other money available to help them with crucial needs such as food, clothing, appliances, and furniture.That’s when the Lichfield Lions stepped in. They partnered with the Lichfield Talking News, which provides the blind and visually impaired with 20 hours a week of news, information and entertainment on a USB stick, to fill the growing need for these families.Keeping families safeBoth the Lions and the Talking News were already known and trusted in their community, so it was natural for those involved in supporting domestic abuse victims to turn to them for help.The Lions coordinated their efforts with Elaine Hutchings, a Lichfield resident, who has a Facebook group called “Helping Each Other Lichfield & Surrounds.”“After discussions with Elaine, we took to providing the victims with essential white goods—mainly cookers and refrigerators—so that they could feed themselves,” May says.They also donated beds purchased on Amazon after visits to several families revealed that children were sleeping on stone floors.To date, the Lions have spent about £350 (US$477) per family and have helped about 90 families. But their money has run out, and May says they are desperately trying to raise more funds.Seeing that families are safe and cared for by their community is worth the effort.“As the weeks have passed and they have begun to feel safer, many of them started to have faith in life, and have gratitude for what has been done for them,” he says.For those living with domestic abuse, getting out is incredibly difficult. It’s not only the material things they need, but also kindness. Space to breath and rest and the knowledge that their community sees them and cares about them. That’s what that truly matters. See more kindness in actionThe winning clubs represent all constitutional areas and show just how meaningful it is to be a Lion or Leo. You can see a full list of the winners here.