Lions Club hosting luncheon at School of Bright Promise

STEUBENVILLE — Christmas will come a little early at the School of Bright Promise as the Steubenville Lions Club hosts its annual holiday luncheon on Wednesday.

About 10 members of the Lions Club and Harding Middle School Leo Club are expected to serve faculty, staff and special needs students starting at 11 a.m. A full meal of roast beef, potatoes and pie are on the menu while the children will get an extra special treat with an appearance by Santa Claus.

Mike Zinno, superintendent of the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities and a former Lions Club president, said the event has been a longtime tradition for the organization.

“The Lions Club sponsors a luncheon here and they provide gifts to every one of our kids,” he said. “It’s a long-standing tradition and is well over 30 years old. Last year, we had the Leo Club help serve lunches, and between the Leos and Lions we should have 10 members.”

He explained that the civic group uses a portion of its proceeds from its annual Ohio State-Michigan football tailgate party, which was most recently held on Nov. 25 at Froehlich’s Classic Corner in Steubenville, to purchase the gifts for distribution at the luncheon. The activity began during the time of then club members Joe DiCarlo and Rick Pfannenschmidt, the latter of whom served as county MRDD superintendent, and DiCarlo donned Santa’s red suit to visit with the children. DiCarlo would continue that role for 28 years but the luncheon has carried on. Zinno said it is something the estimated 80 special needs students truly enjoy.

“The kids love it when Santa Claus arrives. They go to the gym and he calls out each name individually, and then they sit on his lap and receive their gift. It’s very special.”