If you are familiar with Lions Clubs, you probably associate them with white cane days and guide dogs. By now you may have tasted the famous burgers served up from our Burger Den at Lake Fair.
You may have supported our programs by purchasing apples during our annual fall fundraiser. But have you ever noticed collection boxes labeled “Lions Eyeglass Donation” when you have been out and about? Ever wondered what happens to the glasses after you deposit them in the box?
They are picked up by local Lion Club Volunteers and sent to the North West Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center (NWLERC), located at 9013 Mullen RD SE, in Lacey.
NWLERC was founded by area Lions Clubs in 2004 and is one of only 18 centers worldwide, recognized by Lions Clubs International as an official Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center. It is a Washington State chartered, IRS-authorized 501 (c) 3 corporation.
“To provide used eyeglasses free of charge to people in remote areas of developing countries, delivered at the hands of volunteer eye care professionals.” NWLERC is staffed entirely by volunteers.
So, what exactly happens after they are picked up and delivered? There are steps that must be taken before the glasses can be distributed.
First of all, volunteers are trained in the cleaning, sorting, and grading of the glasses: prescription strength, bifocals, trifocals, etc.
This is accomplished by weekly work parties at the center to prepare the glasses for vision missions to third-world countries all over the world.
When they have been sorted and prepared, eye professionals provide volunteer missions to deliver them to underserved poor nations, where they conduct eye exams and pass out the glasses to those in need.
People barely able to see are given the gift of sight through this well-coordinated program.
NWLERC has provided eyeglasses for medical missions in more than 100 countries.
For more information on where to find collection boxes, follow, click this link.
How do we provide visual aids to loan out to our low vision community? Funding for this important operation comes from the Olympia Host Lions Club, the Olympia Host Lions Club Foundation, and grants from the Lions Clubs International Foundation, the Lions World Vision Institute, formally the Northwest Lions Foundation, The Nisqually Tribal Foundation, and from donations from other Lions Clubs and individuals.
Together we serve!
On September 21, we will have a booth at the Senor Action Network event, “Living Well, Living Long Expo”, from, 8:45 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. This event will be held at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, located at 1925 Boulevard RD, Olympia.
This year's theme is "Finding Joy in the Journey" so all presentations by the Keynote speakers will be focused on what we can all do to maintain a mental attitude of joy in whatever we do!
Admission is free and you can register at this website.
And you can join us for the September 30, 2023 Vision Fair, from 10:00 – 4:00, sponsored by the Hope Vision Foundation. This event will be held at the Norman Worthington Conference Center, at Saint Martins University, located at 5000 Abbey Way ER. Lacey. Registration is free, click this link.
I mistakenly stated incorrect apple sale information last week. It is 40 lbs of apples (not 20 lbs) for 45.00. You can order on our website. Anticipated delivery is the last weekend of October. If you don’t need all 40lbs yourself, you can always share with a friend or donate a box to the Thurston County Food Bank. Click here.
Kathleen Anderson writes this column each week from her home in Olympia. Contact her at kathleen@theJOLTnews.com or post your comment below.