More than 1,000 children and their caregivers enjoyed the biggest picnic event on the Island Wednesday at the 60th annual Grand Island Lions Club Special Kids Picnic.
"To see one child smile, now we've got over a thousand smiling, it's priceless. There's no words to describe it. It's just so amazing," said Lions Club President Shelia Ferrentino.
There were more than 40 Lions on hand volunteering, with most of the 30-plus members of the Island Lions Club present bolstered by about a dozen from the Merritton, Ontario, Lions, the sister club of GI.
Children from Erie 1 BOCES came from the following sites: Mill Middle School, Maryvale School District, West Seneca School District, Western New York Children's Psychiatric Center day treatment program, Grand Island Central School District (new this year), Lake Shore Central School and Sweet Home School District.
Annette Bois-Lobl, chair of the event, said a long list of organizations provided support to the Special Kids Picnic in 2018 through donation of money or goods and services. Among the benefactors: the Buffalo Launch Club (liaison captain Bob DeGlopper), which hosted the picnic for the 58th year, providing use of its grounds and docks; Collins Marine donated three pontoon boats (pictured above); Lakeview Animal Sanctuary - a home for retired, abused or unwanted animals - provided a petting zoo and pony rides; Shriners Mini Car Corps (driver John Markuse) wheeled children around the parking lot; Excalibur Leisure Skills Center gave disabled children and their caregivers boat rides; Kenmore Boy Scout Troop 104 assisted children on the dock; and Step-in-Time baton twirlers Danielle Duck, Maisie Mrkall, and Marissa Mrkall entertained the children.