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Verdugo Views: Club for the blind grew quickly

August 30, 2011|By Katherine Yamada
  • Volunteers provided transportation for members of the Foothill Service Club for the Blind. Photo circa 1941. (Photo courtesy Foothill Service Club for the Blind)
Volunteers provided transportation for members of the…

The Foothill Service Club for the Blind held its first meetings on South Glendale Avenue, near Broadway, under the sponsorship of the Glendale Lions Club.

Established in 1940, the club for the blind grew rapidly with help from a host of other community groups, including the La Cañada Delta Gamma Alumnae Sorority, the Moose of Glendale and Oakmont League.

Lions Club members — who assessed themselves quarterly to raise operating funds for the club for the blind — also donated the furnishings, including a very large round table, which soon became the clubhouse’s focal point. Members gathered around while a sighted volunteer, Mrs. Basler, read magazine articles. This was the beginning of the “Round Table Meeting,’’ which continued for many years, according to the club for the blind’s official history.

The club was open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and a sightless member, Frances Brown, was on hand every day except Friday, which was men’s day. Lions Club wives and the La Cañada sorority women joined forces to provide transportation back and forth to meetings and other events.


One of the highlights of the club day was handicraft classes, begun by state home teachers in conjunction with a sightless instructor from the Braille Institute. Soon, the crafters began presenting their handiwork as gifts to their sponsors at the club’s annual summer picnic.

The club for the blind became such a popular place and grew so quickly that they soon had to look for a larger space.

Its new meeting place, this time on north Glendale Avenue, had no cooking facilities, so members brought their own lunches. Cecil Haste, of the Glendale Lions, began dropping by at lunchtime, often bringing the makings of a fruit salad, which he and other volunteers prepared and served. Then other members of the Lions Club showed up to help. They had their aprons signed to get credit for attendance at their own club meetings.

Another Lion, Bill MacIntyre of the Griffith Park club, was in the grocery business and often donated items, as did Ray McNair of the same club.

By this time, several Lions Clubs had shouldered responsibility for the club for the blind’s operating expenditures. A Dec. 11, 1945, Glendale News-Press reported that the Lions clubs of Glendale, Eagle Rock, Burbank and Griffith Park were all involved.

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