LEMOORE —The Lemoore Leos Club is taking over a nearly 20-year old Lions Club tradition — but it’s really a tradition that goes back to the days of Genghis Kahn, nearly a millennia ago.
The Leos will host Mongolian Night for the first time this Saturday.
Food will be served by the Leos and cooked up by members of the West Hills culinary team.
For those unfamiliar with the Mongolian-style barbecue, the diner’s choice of different raw meats and veggies are grilled on a large, flat service and mixed with any and all available spices — or no spices at all — in a move that historians have called the first case of “fast food,” though it has more in common with a stir fry than with McDonald’s.
The Leos voted to take the event over from the Lemoore Lions Club and turn it into their signature fundraiser, according to Flavio Florez Jr., Lions member and adviser to the Leos.
“I just give them guidance and they run with it,” Florez said. “I just tell them to find causes they believe in.”
Florez estimates that this year’s Mongolian Night event could be the biggest in its history, due to an increased social media presence by the Leos.
“Last year, we had about 100 people, but this year could be bigger,” he said.
The event will be held from 6-9 p.m. Saturday at the Lemoore Civic Center. Adult donations are $15 and $7.50 for children under 12. Ages 4 and under are free.
There will also be a silent auction during the night.
The Leos have contributed to efforts helping the National Relief Fund, as well as more localized charitable contributions like helping raise money for the Lemoore Rec Center and working with Valley Children’s Hospital.
Last year, the group raised money for the rec center by taking and selling Easter Bunny photos.
“Hopefully Mongolian Night gives us more of a budget so [the Leos] can donate where they want to donate,” Florez said.
The Leos club, established about five years ago, is comprised of 22 members between the ages of 12 and 18. When Florez became the club’s adviser about a year and a half ago, the club had a scant four members. Florez, already a Lion, decided to become the group’s adviser when his son joined the Leos.
“We love the Leos because they’re the future of the Lions,” Florez said, adding that he knew of two Leos who have graduated to the Lions Club.