LI Pride Lions Club, the first of its kind on Long Island, will host its first fundraiser at BTW Bar & Grill in Oceanside on Sept. 25.
The newly-formed Lions Club chapter is not only the first LGBTQ-focused Lions Club on Long Island, but the fourth in the nation, according to Gina Wuestmann, founding member of the club and owner of BTW, a gay bar that opened in 2020.
“It all came about with one of our friends introducing us to the Lions Club and saying there is no LGBTQ-based chapter,” Wuestmann said. “The conversation got bigger and bigger in the bar and more people hopped on board and we said, ‘let’s do this.’”
Anthony Paradiso, a Rockville Centre Lions Club member, first approached the bar owners with the idea for LI Pride Lions Club. Though the charity organization doesn’t strictly give to the LGBTQ community, Wuestmann says it will be the main focus.
LI Pride Lions Club to Give Back
LI Pride Lions Club’s first beneficiary will be Family & Children’s Association (FCA), which runs a LGBTQ-friendly shelter that houses young people through age 20. The Sept. 25 fundraising event will donate all proceeds to FCA and future causes that Lions Club members choose.
“I love the idea of a club that gives 100% of the money they raise to charity,” Wuestmann said. “You can’t feel better than giving back to someone in need. This is the main objective of the Lions Club.”
LI Pride Lions Club currently has 30 members, and they hope to gain membership after the upcoming fundraiser. The family-friendly event will feature drinks, a limited food menu, a DJ with outdoor dancing in the parking lot, and raffles with more than 15 prizes up for grabs, including a basket of scratch-off tickets.
Tickets to the event are $10 per person with all proceeds going to the FCA and LI Pride Lions Club. It will take place at BTW Bar & Grill, 3297R Long Beach Rd., Oceanside, from 3 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25.
For more information, visit btwoceanside.com.