The Saugus Lions Club celebrated its 90th anniversary and installed new officers at a dinner at the Knights of Columbus on June 8.

“The most important thing is every penny raised for charity goes to charity,” said Gene Decareau, a 50-year member and former president of the Saugus Lions Club. “Very few organizations can say that.”

Lions Club President George Meimaris said he joined the organization six years ago because of all it does for the community. Fundraising activities sponsored by the Lions Club include raffles, a golf tournament and donation drives.

DeCareau recalled selling light bulbs door-to-door to raise money.

“You either sold them or bought the case,” he said.

The main objective of the Lions Club is raising money related to blindness, poor sight and optic health, inspired in large part by a speech Helen Keller gave at a Lions convention in 1925. Funds are donated to hospitals and research facilities to help buy reading devices and fund mobile clinics.

Outgoing Saugus Lions Club President Ben Penta noted a mobile eye and ear clinic sent to Revere gave tests to people who may never had had them before.

There are also local efforts on other fronts including the recent purchase of a defibrillator for the Saugus American Legion, in tandem with the Rotary Club. The Lions also hold a dinner for the Saugus High School and Peabody High School football teams before their annual Thanksgiving rivalry game.

“It’s not just eye research,” Meimaris pointed out.

Meimaris was elevated from vice-president to president to succeed Penta.

Corinne Riley is the new first vice-president.

“I’m thrilled,” Riley said. “It’s a great organization that does so much for the community and for research.”

DeCareau, 89, the Lions Club membership director, joined on the advice of a friend and, in turn, encouraged Paul Trunfio to join five years ago.

Trunfio helps recruit new members and edits the Lions Club bulletin.

“It’s great what we do and the camaraderie is great,” Trunfio said. “We do a lot of fundraising for the town. There’s a vision we have to help the community.”

Penta joined eight years ago after being encouraged by a friend.

“I didn’t know what Lions was, but I’ve met a lot of nice people here,” he said. ”There’s fellowship.”

Secretary Patty Fierro became a Lions Club member 19 years ago and found “a group of people as passionate as I am about doing good things. A friend was involved and invited me to join. I joined at a time in my life when I needed purpose. I get a lot out of it. I’ve made some wonderful friends; lifelong friends.”