Fundraiser sweeps through Boykins

Published 7:55 am Wednesday, February 25, 2009

BOYKINS—If you catch a glimpse of the mayor of this small town walking around with brooms in hand, there’s no need to stop him and ask what’s up.

Unless you want to buy one, that is.

As part of its fundraising efforts, the Boykins Lions Club is selling brooms made in North Carolina by the blind and visually impaired.

“I always carry two brooms in my car,” Mayor Spier Edwards said, adding that he got the idea after his “sample” brooms kept selling out every time he went somewhere to show off their quality and craftsmanship. “People keep a lookout for them.”

Edwards, president of the 25-member club, said the Boykins Lions used to go door-to-door all over Southampton County to sell the brooms and other cleaning tools.

“We have sold them for many, many years, and we sold a lot of them that way,” he said. “But our members are getting older now, and it’s harder to do that.”

The club, which was chartered in 1946, is the only one of its kind in Southampton County.

“Roy Lassiter is the only living charter member,” Edwards said.

Since its inception, the Boykins offshoot of the world’s largest service club has given $189,000 back to its community, as well as provided many services, including vision screenings of young children and provision of eye exams, glasses and hearing aids for needy people.

The Lions take a bus several times a year to Southampton High School, Southampton Middle School and Southampton Academy to screen students there. And Edwards said he has seen the positive results of those screenings firsthand.

“We recently gave a set of glasses to a young girl in middle school. It enabled her to see and her grades skyrocketed,” he said. “She’s on the Honor Roll now. If she hadn’t been screened, none of that would have happened for her. It made a huge difference in her life.”

The club has 200 brooms to sell. Some of them, along with other cleaning tools, are on display and sale at Boykins Beans and Ice Cream.

Others are available by calling the town office at 654-6361 or going there in person to 18206 Virginia Ave.

A light broom costs $8 and a patio broom costs $9.

“All of the money we make is turned back into the community,” Edwards said.