by Lisa Tome
Since the 1940s, members of the Perryville Lions Club have worked the polls during the primary and general elections.
And they aren't waving signs.
Due to an ages old election day deal, the Lions and now their teen counterparts, the Perryville Lions' Leo Club, make it hard to get out of the polling place - Perryville Middle School - without stopping for a slice of pie or a sandwich.
They were back at it again last Tuesday, selling sandwiches and baked goods at the Perryville Middle School election precinct.
"The club was formed in 1944 and I think they started doing this (selling food on election day) shortly after that," said club member Oakley Sumpter.
"I think it's been at least 60 years. I came in in 1965 and it had gone on long before then."
During last week's Primary, the Lions were selling baked goods and egg salad or chicken salad sandwiches. Sandwiches sold for $3 each. Those who added chips and a drink paid $4.
The Lions Club used to serve soup but stopped because people didn't stay around to eat it. "People don't stay around and talk anymore. They are too busy," said Sumpter. "The general election is much busier than this."
"It's so slow today," said Lion Luther Vaught.
Members of the Perryville Leo Club, the Lions Club for teens, were also vending items on election day. The Leo members were selling cups of coffee.
Michele McKay, advisor for the Leo Club, which has members from both Perryville Middle and High schools, said even if the teens aren't selling coffee, they are serving as greeters and learning about civic duty. "It's teaching them community service," said McKay.
There are about 30 current Leo Club members between the high and middle schools. Members are ages 13-18. They serve by working at the monthly food distributions, host a food drive, contribute to the Paws for Vets program and the Perryville Branch Library teen area.
"We meet once a month. The big push now is to recruit 13 year olds and new members," McKay said.
The Leo Club members also helped the Lions set up for their election day sandwich and baked goods sale.