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Staff Writer

AYER — The Ayer-Shirley Lions Club held its second annual spaghetti dinner at Dan’s Place to help raise money for the club’s blindness research and diabetes prevention and treatment programs.

Dan’s Place owner Dan Civitarese donated the use of his restaurant on June 18, while the Leominster Olive Garden provided spaghetti and meatballs for 250 people. M&M Convenience, of Shirley, donated all the bread.

“Dan not only donated the use of his facility at no charge to us, he does all the cooking and donated a lot of the extras we forgot to bring,” Lions Club member Calvin Moore said. “He’s always very generous to us.”

Operating from 4 to 8 p.m., members of the club volunteered their time to sell tickets, serve the food and clean up after the patrons when the dining was done.

“It’s a fun thing to do to get the community involved,” Lions Club President Jason Souza said.

Last year, 240 people stopped at Dan’s Place to enjoy their spaghetti dinner and Moore anticipated the same crowd at this year’s event.

“We’ll do it again this year, no doubt,” he said. “They enjoyed it so much last year, there’s no reason we won’t have the same amount of people.”

One thing that was different at this year’s event was the one-day liquor license, granted to the Lions Club.

“After a hard day’s work, it’s nice to have a glass of red wine with good Italian food,” Moore said. “It puts a nice touch of class to (the event).”

The Lions decided to bring back their spaghetti dinners, after an absence of 25 years.

“Lions charities are actually making a difference,” Souza said. “It really, truly gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling.”

The Lions Club, charged as the “Knights to the Blind” by Helen Keller in 1925 at their national convention in Ohio, has been a charter in Ayer for more than 75 years. About 30 years, the Shirley charter dismantled and became partners with their neighboring town.

The club currently has 44 members and is always looking for more residents of the community to join.

For more information about the Ayer-Shirley Lions Club, visit ayer-shirleyma.lionwap.org. For membership contact Souza at (978) 425-6166.

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