In 1925, Helen Keller offered a challenge to members of the Lions Club – to be “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.”
The organization accepted the challenge and since then helping address vision issues has been a major focus for Lions Clubs around the world.
Each May the Lions Club conducts a drive that encourages local clubs to collect glasses, and over the years the local club has made donations to the cause.
This year the Redwood Falls Lions Club chapter has taken that mission to the next level, as it is conducting an eyeglass collection through the month, with collection sites at all five locations of the three banks in the community – HomeTown Bank, Bremer Bank and Minnwest Bank. Baskets have been set up that allow the public to drop off their eyeglasses.
“This is the first time we have done a collection like this,” said Scott Kodet, Lions Club president.
According to the World Health Organization, there are 153 million people with uncorrected refractive errors and need glasses but do not have access to them.
Called Recycle for Sight, the program encourages those who may have glasses and don’t need them anymore to give them to the Lions Club which then makes them available to adults and children, especially those in third world countries who may not be able to get them any other way.
Glasses of any style and type are being accepted, and those glasses which are donated then are sent to collection centers where they are repaired, if need be, and the lenses are scanned to determine what kind of correction they have.
“They clean them, sort them and send them off to various places,” said Kodet.
Imagine if your eyeglass donation was able to help a child read for the very first time or those prescription glasses you dropped off were given to an adult who was able to then get a job because they were able to see clearly for the first time in their life.
That is the kind of difference one can make with a simple gesture.
The medical missions which then take the glasses to those in need describe what they experience as a “joy clinic” because of the happiness expressed by someone who is able to see clearly.
For more information, contact Kodet at (507) 637-1015 or visit www.lionsclub.org.