News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Sweethearts and sweets provide nearly $12,000 for scholarships

The Mill City Lions Club has raised nearly $12,000 to present to deserving local students as a result of its annual Sweethearts Dinner. The event was held Feb. 10 in the Freres Family Gymnasium at Santiam Junior/Senior High School.

Almost 50 items were auctioned off, with Mill City Mayor Tim Kirsch handling auctioneer duties. The auction itself raised $9,765, almost double the receipts of last year’s event, organizers said. 

Student volunteers show off some of the dessert items available for auction at Feb. 10’s Lions Club Sweethearts Dinner. Auctioneer and Mill City Mayor Tim Kirsch is at the far left. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Student volunteers show off some of the dessert items available for auction at Feb. 10’s Lions Club Sweethearts Dinner. Auctioneer and Mill City Mayor Tim Kirsch is at the far left. SUBMITTED PHOTO

The 26 prize drawing items led to another $1,900 in proceeds, again more than doubling the success of the 2023 dinner.

The record crowd of 139 guests were served a meal of salad, stuffed chicken, baked potato, vegetable, roll, and dessert prepared by a volunteer kitchen crew led by Lori Lindemann. 

There was a record-setting turnout for the Mill City Lions Club scholarship event.
There was a record-setting turnout for the Mill City Lions Club scholarship event.

Caroline Gillaspy and Aniese Mitchell recruited and supervised the student volunteers who assisted with setting up tables and chairs, placing dishes, decorating tables, serving meals, delivering items to winners, and then cleaning up.

“This event just gets bigger and better every year,” said Steve Dougherty, Mill City Lions Club president. “We are so grateful for the community-wide support. This is our major fund raiser. We awarded $12,000 in scholarships to high school seniors last year. Our supporters know that every dollar they spend on our auction and raffle goes directly to our charitable causes.”

Club treasurer Dan Lemke served as the master of ceremonies. Club secretary Sandy Lyness presented the club’s Rod Winn Award for outstanding community service to Mike and Jan Long. The couple were honored for their work on what has been renamed the Mike Long Youth Benefit Golf Tournament after Mike passed away last March.

Applications for the 2024 scholarships are due April 4 at the high school.

“If you know of a local senior, please encourage them to apply and offer to review their application,” Dougherty said. “Going through the process and being interviewed by our scholarship committee is a great learning experience.”

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