For more than 80 years, the Lions of Illinois Foundation, with the help of various missionaries, have distributed more than 37 million pairs of cleaned, graded, recycled eyeglasses to people in need in Central and South America.
In our area, the collection of eyeglasses is simple. Lions Recycle for Sight collection boxes are placed around town and at Lions functions. When full, Lions members will collect the boxes and deliver them to The Center for Sight & Hearing in Rockford. There, volunteers will clean and categorize the glasses and deliver them to one of nine centers for further neutralizing, organizing and packaging for use on volunteer missions. One such volunteer organization in Illinois is the Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity, or VOSH.
Most people are aware of this recycling, but do not know that the Lions also collect and recycle sunglasses, hearing aids, readers and hand magnifiers.
There is a somewhat local need for your old, unwanted hand magnifiers and binoculars for people who cannot see well enough with glasses alone. Dr. Jon Russell, the low vision optometrist at the Center for Sight & Hearing, has been in contact with a low vision center in New Orleans, where there is still a great need for everything after last years hurricanes, including donated or low-cost equipment for the vision-impaired. Dr. Russell knows first-hand the value of this program, as he has volunteered his services on one of the VOSH trips to the Yucatan Mayans.
You can still help someone see to read his or her own Christmas cards this year by donating your unwanted magnification devices to the Center for Sight & Hearing at 8038 MacIntosh Lane in Rockford, by Dec. 16, or just drop them into any Lions collection box. They will be cleaned and delivered to New Orleans for distribution.
Lions Clubs International is the worlds largest service club organization with nearly 1.35 million members in approximately 45,000 clubs in 200 countries around the world. Since 1917, Lions clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired. The Center for Sight & Hearing has been providing services to the vision and hearing impaired in the Rockford area for nearly 45 years.
From the Dec. 13-19, 2006, issue