Eyeglass Deliveries

For those not able to attend our meeting last night, the Club received two deliveries of glasses to be used in our eyeglass recycling program.
The first delivery was from the North Canton Lions. The second was a van load delivered by members of the Lisbon Lions Club including PDG Tom Kirkbride and PDG Bill Mundy accompanied by five fellow Lisbon Lions.

Thank you North Canton and Lisbon Lions.

Citizen Choice Awards: Garner Lions Club

By Lisa Mumma
Citizen Journalist

Editor’s note: The following is the fourth part in a six-part series of profiles on our Citizen Choice Awards honorees. Citizen Choice Awards is an award ceremony that recognizes people who exemplify what it means to be a Garner citizen. This week, we honor the Garner Lions Club for civic organization.

Winded from carrying several heavy boxes into the back door of the Garner Lions Club’s West Main Street facility, Jim Valsame, Gene English, Signal Ross and Kenny Lynch gathered on a recent afternoon to do a job. Having sorted into heaping piles more than 700 pieces of donated eyeglasses, lenses and hearing aids, including related accessories like cases and tiny batteries, they paused to admire the bounty before them.

“Our residents, eye care professionals, funeral homes and senior citizen organizations, among others, have been extremely generous this year,” said Ross, a Garner Lions Club member for more than 20 years who currently serves as club chaplain. “I’m thrilled with the number of boxes we get to pack and ship.”

Nurtured by parent organizations Lions Clubs International and the N.C. Lions Foundation, the Garner club, chartered in 1944, strives to improve the lives of the blind, visually impaired or hearing impaired by providing these individuals with opportunities to enjoy life fully and productively. Club members support these efforts through raising funds for prevention, research, education, recreation and emergency service programs to help eventually eliminate these impairments.

Club members also welcome and support collaborations with education, medical and recreational partners to create and maintain projects to meet its goal, such as funding clinical eye trials and radio reading services. The 21st-Century Vision Van travels the state, for example, providing free screenings in communities across North Carolina.

Valsame, a Lions Club member since the mid-1950s, was tapped to spearhead the SightFirst capital campaign early in his career to help the World Health Organization fight blindness in third-world countries. Inspired by Helen Keller’s challenge for the Lions Clubs to be the “Knights of the blind and deaf” when she addressed the N.C. Lions Foundation convention in 1935, Valsame also worked toward increasing the presence and reach of humanitarian campaigns such as the White Cane Fund for the Blind.

English, on the club rolls for more than 30 years, noted that club members across North Carolina enjoy volunteering at Camp Dogwood, a 54-acre resort on Lake Norman constructed to give visually impaired or hearing impaired kids a typical summer camp experience. He added that service options are endless and range from swinging a hammer, leading a hike or flipping pancakes. Clubs can also choose to sponsor kids to attend camp when funds at home fall short.

Propelled by the organization’s humble but clear motto, “We Serve,” the Garner club also directs its benevolence toward home. The legacy of its ball fields notwithstanding, in addition to subsidizing eye exams and glasses, hearing tests and aids, the club supports a long list of local charities such as Garner Area Ministries and the Linus Project. The Garner club partners with its neighboring club in Knightdale to sponsor the annual Dollars for Scholars golf tournament, which benefits area high school students who show potential for success in higher education endeavors.

“We don’t make a big deal about our work sometimes,” English said. “Lions Clubs are the best kept secret in the community.”

Attention: Eye Doctors and overseas missionaries, The Uniontown Lions Club has recycled eyeglasses for distribution

Lions Recycle For SightThe Uniontown Lions Club recycles used eye glasses, both children and adults. We separate by class, clean and read the prescriptions of the eye glasses collected from various counties in our area.

These glasses are recorded with our lensometers, the prescriptions noted and placed in individual plastic see-through bags and packaged in boxes-of lots of 100.

If you know of any organizations, in need of our services of eye glass inventory-kindly let us know by completing the form below.

Sorry, we are unable to fulfill individual requests at this time.

Lions provide free eye screening

Charlie Hall Sun Journal

lions eye screeningChristine Turner of Bridgeton was grocery shopping with her three children Wednesday afternoon when she saw the North Carolina Lions Foundation free eye-screening bus in the parking lot of Merci Clinic.

Turner works in a sandwich shop and doesn’t have insurance. Her husband, Christopher, recently started a new job at a retail store and isn’t covered either.

Turner, 29, knows she has eye problems. She wore a patch for a year when she was a 16-year-old and had glasses until she was 21 and couldn’t afford them anymore. She had trouble passing the eye exam the last time she had her driver’s license renewed.

She spent more than a half hour in the Lions’ bus, where club members conduct basic screenings on participants.

She emerged glad she had stopped in. “I definitely need to see an eye doctor,” she said. “They (Lions) said they might can help.”

“We will help her,” said Lion volunteer Bobbi Fisher. “Having an eye exam should be one of the most important medical priorities. If people will get an exam, the Lions can help. Lions have been doing that since 1917.”

Fisher said Turner and other referrals must go through a short follow-up interview to see if they qualify for any state medical assistance. If not, then the Lions step in, and provide a free referral through doctors Shawn Doty and Jay Singleton, and optician Phil White. Fisher said the Lions hope to get even more area eye professionals to help their program.

The Wednesday stop in New Bern provided 83 free screenings.

Lions battle against preventable blindness

Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center handles 500,000 donations annually
Individuals across the country annually drop about 6 million pairs of glasses into local Lions Clubs’ refurbished mailboxes, but not many donors know where those used spectacles go.

JENNIFER KOHLHEPP Allentown Lions Club President Robert Strovinsky sorts glasses with various prescriptions at the club’s eyeglass recycling center in West Trenton where they are readied for distribution to needy groups and individuals in other countries.
Lions Club International has nine approved eyeglass recycling centers operating in the Unites States. The New Jersey Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center at the Katzenbach School in West Trenton handles approximately 500,000 of those donations annually. The center cleans, neutralizes and determines the prescription of the used eyeglasses and then stores and packages them for distribution to needy groups and individuals in other countries.

Lions Club members from throughout New Jersey empty their yellow and blue mailboxes throughout the year and take the donated eyewear to the center. For example, the Allentown Lions Club has a collection box in front of the municipal building on Church Street that garners between 1,200 and 1,500 glasses each year, according to Secretary Dave Strovino.

Glasses collected by Lions Club members in refurbished mailboxes across the state wind up at the club’s eyeglass recycling center.
The Lions accept all types of used eyeglasses and sunglasses, prescription and nonprescription, for children and adults. Donations of reading glasses are particularly useful for workers who have to perform close-up tasks. Sunglasses are sought for people living near the equator, especially those with cataracts.

“People in Third World countries and impoverished

countries get the opportunity to have good vision,” Allentown Lions Club member Rich Holman said. “It’s a shame that we can’t use recycled eyeglasses in this country.”

Due to legal constraints against dispensing used prescriptive devices in the United States, most of the recycled glasses are distributed in developing countries where individuals and families are frequently pushed into deepening poverty because of their inabilities to see well and afford glasses. According to the Lions Club, at least 13 million children (ages 5-15) and 45 million working-age adults (ages 16-49) are affected with these inabilities globally.

Allentown Lions Club members use lensometers to determine the prescriptions of donated glasses.
“This is a great way to recycle and help people in need in other countries,” Allentown Lions Club member Tim Stolzenberger said.

Members of local chapters of Lions Clubs volunteer at the eyeglass recycling centers to minimize operating costs. The New Jersey center also reduces costs by giving residents at the Adult Diagnostic Treatment Center in Avenel and the Edna Mahon Correctional Facility in Clinton the opportunity to process donated glasses.

Most of the equipment and other goods used in the recycling process at the center, such as shipping boxes, are donations from Lions Clubs and area businesses, which also keeps costs down.

Biff Searing, the Allentown Lions Club member who chairs the recycled eyeglass project, said eyesight conservation is the Lions Club’s primary focus. He said theAllentown club has raised funds for and donated two lensometers to the center. These machines determine the prescription of the lenses.

Since eyesight comes first, the Lions process all types of eyewear, including those with 14-karat gold frames. However, if a pair of gold glasses is damaged and cannot be processed, the center sells the gold to further offset operating costs. The same goes for all recyclable materials, including damaged metal chains that the center cannot process.

Lions and other optical mission groups organize teams of eye care professionals and volunteers to travel to developing countries all over the world to conduct vision screenings and dispense the recycled glasses free of charge to children and adults with impaired vision.

In their battle against preventable blindness, New Jersey Lions also work with companies like Lenscrafters to get underprivileged children in local communities glasses at a fraction of the price they would regularly pay. New Jersey Lions also sponsor an eye-mobile that travels to various community events across the state providing free eye exams, including a screening for glaucoma.

Retailer donated 30,000 pairs of sunglasses and reading glasses to charity New Eyes for the Needy

S-based travel retailer Hudson Group has donated the sunglasses and reading glasses inventory from its New York and New Jersey airport, bus and rail terminal stores to charitable organisation New Eyes for the Needy, which recycles glasses for distribution to poor people in developing nations.

The 30,000 pairs of glasses were worth over $1m in retail and will be handed to medical missions that work in partnership with New Eyes. The charity also works with larger organisations such as Feed the Children, Physicians for Peace and the Tree-Land Foundation to provide glasses for eye clinics in developing countries.

Hudson Group president and CEO Joseph DiDomizio said: “Hudson was delighted to be in a position to aid this outstanding organisation in the marvellous work they do around the world. We also provided glasses to local chapters of Lions Clubs International across the US, which conducts a similar mission to improve the vision of needy people in the US and abroad.”

New Eyes for the Needy executive director Susan Dyckman added: “This incredible donation from Hudson Group will help New Eyes to answer 100% of the requests for glasses we will receive from medical missions this year. We are very grateful to Hudson Group for this generous humanitarian gesture that will make a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of poor people around the world by allowing them to see clearly so that they can work and attend school, as well as protect their eyes from the harsh sun.”

Uniontown Lion Paul Ruley bring clear vision to thousands each year

Longtime Uniontown resident, Paul Ruley, has been deeply involved with the Uniontown Lions club’s efforts to collect used eyeglasses, evaluate their prescriptions and match them up with those in need of glasses in third world countries.

Each Monday morning and Thursday evening you’ll find Paul and members of the Uniontown and neighboring Lions Clubs gathered together in the Uniontown Community Park building in an effort to bring clear vision to thousands of needy folks in Latin America.

“There are people in villages and towns in third world countries who cannot accomplish menial tasks without eyeglasses,” informed Steve Sinsabaugh, the club’s media representative. “Many can’t support themselves financially without our help,” he said.

The eyeglass recycling project began with Uniontown Lions in 2001 when Doctor Braden Kail visited the club to talk about his trip to Honduras to provide eyeglasses to the needy. Kail explained what his biggest challenge was the preparation and evaluation of the glasses for the trips. Ruley chaired the sight committee for the Lions in 2001 and led the club’s efforts to collect used glasses at several locations, including Goodwill stores. Instead of turning over unprocessed glasses, Paul began processing them so that they would be ready to be used by impaired citizens upon arrival.

The process involves sorting the glasses into plastic or metal frames, regular prescriptions or bifocals, sunglasses or safety glasses.

At this point the glasses are washed, prescriptions are evaluated and necessary repairs are made. With the help of analog and digital lensometers, Ruley’s technical expertise has impacted citizens from Peru, Mexico, Bolivia, El Salvador and Honduras. The prescription is recorded before shipment for an optician in the Third World country to match as closely as possible with each patient.

“Because of Paul’s leadership and with the help of members Bob Jones, Al Spigelmire, Dave Rhodes and Dom Trifero we took on this process here in Uniontown and it continues to grow,” said Sinsabaugh.

Processing the glasses has become easier since a digital lensometer was approved for purchase by District 13-D of the Lions Club. The analog versions are still in use by experts such as Paul Ruley, but the digital is easier for a novice to read. Glasses are beginning to come in from other districts for evaluation. Due to the foresight of Paul and the Uniontown Lions Club, between 200 and 400 pairs of glasses are collected each month for recycling, with over 26,000 pairs shipped thus far.

Local Lions clubs fear closing down due to lack of volunteers

By COLIN MCEVOY – The Express-Times

More than 20 years ago, the Bushkill Township Lions Club raised the money to build a pavilion for the township park that is still used today. Two months ago, the once active club was forced to disband due to a lack of volunteers.

“We just didn’t have enough members, so we decided to drop it,” said Cliff Bonney, 84, one of the club’s founding members and one of eight still active when the club finally closed. Once among the leaders of local volunteer organizations, the Bushkill group is not the only local Lions Club to have lost some of its roar in recent years. The Nazareth Lions Club, which has served the borough for 84 years, had 154 members when current President Charles Roth joined in 1954.

Now it only has about 16. Roth was so concerned about its lack of volunteers he wrote an open letter to borough residents claiming the club might have to fold if it did not get more members.

“When did volunteerism start to diminish in the United States?” Roth asked. “It’s just a lack of willingness to do things for other people. It’s a selfishness.” About 410,000 people are in Lions clubs throughout the United States, a drop of about 3,000 members from last year, according to Dane LaJoye, Lions Clubs International spokesman.

Membership hit its nationwide peak in the mid-1980s with about 560,000 volunteers, he said. Local members said they have not seen young people join in the same numbers as they did decades ago. When the Bushkill club closed, most of the eight remaining volunteers were founding members and almost all of them were retired men in their 80s, Bonney said.

“No young guys like we had years ago,” he said. LaJoye said people younger than 30 still volunteer but tend to do it episodically. They’ll coach their son or daughter’s soccer team this year, but maybe they won’t next year,” LaJoye said. “This month they’ll volunteer at their church, but maybe next year they won’t. So they’re volunteering, but they’re not joining.”

Other service clubs have seen problems with declining volunteers. The Phillipsburg Area Jaycees was unable to coordinate the Phillipsburg-Easton Halloween parade this year due in part to such problems. The event was saved only at the last minute when the Warren County Regional Chamber of Commerce took responsibility for organizing it. Chamber President Robert Goltz said volunteerism has dropped in part because businesses have stopped supporting it financially.

“They still do, but they don’t support it on their dime,” Goltz said. “In the past, the banks would say, ‘OK, you’re required to volunteer so many hours, but we’re going to pay you for those hours.’ That is gone.” Many Lions clubs have tried new methods to keep up volunteerism, including appealing to families and starting “cyber-clubs” with more online participation, LaJoye said.

John Cooke, past president and current member of the Palmer Township Lions Club, said his group has tried to brainstorm ways to bring in new members, but has found many people simply don’t have the time. The Palmer club has 18 members, down from 54 when Cooke joined in 1971. But the group still tries to keep active. Earlier this year, it helped raise the money for an electronic sign at 25th and Northampton streets.

Jennifer Stocker, president of the Easton Lions Club, said the group is still going strong despite a drop in volunteers. The group has 26 members right now, about half of when it was formed in 1971. Stocker, 34, said while many of the members are in their 70s, there are some younger volunteers in their 30s and 40s, as well.

Editors Note: Our Uniontown, Ohio Lions Club is still strong and growing. We have added several new members during the current fiscal year and we have a few other prospects that could become members in the next few months. With strong support from the community we are set to be a part of the Uniontown, Ohio landscape for years to come. If you are interested in membership, please fill out our Membership Form

Lions Clubs International 2009 Rose Parade Float

Lions Clubs International 2009 Rose Parade FloatSince 1992, Lions Clubs International has had a float in the New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.  Two of our entries, in 1993 and 1994, won awards for the most beautiful floats in the parade.   But all entries have been winners, presenting Lions an opportunity to promote our service activities to people worldwide who watch the float each year.

The Rose Parade is seen by an estimated 400 million people in 85 countries worldwide.  The parade is covered by several hundred domestic and international newspapers.  Every major newswire service features related stories before, during and after the parade.

Lions Float, Inc., a non-profit corporation, was formed in 1994 to direct the preparation and funding of the Lions float in the Rose Parade.  This is a year-round activity involving the designing, fundraising and coordinating of volunteer decoration of the float in December.

Lions Clubs International in Oak Brook, Illinois has provided approximately half of the funds; the remainder is raised by the Lions of Multiple District Four (California).


The “floragraph” depiction of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan is created with ground onion seed, light lettuce seed, poppy seed and powdered rice; its gold frame and the lion’s head are covered with strawflower, clover seed and ground white rice.

The cane features red strawflower and ground white rice.

The glasses are decorated with silverleaf, and the books are covered with orange lentil, red strawflower and parsley seed – the pages are created with ground rice and poppy seed.

The base of the float is bedecked with roses, daisies and carnations in a mix of orange, gold, pink, lavender, yellow and gold.

Charitable Eyeglass Recycling

Adapted from Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: An Easy Household Guide by Nicky Scott

Lions Recycle for Sight Drop-Off BoxWho doesn’t keep old eyeglasses as a backup when they get a new pair—and end up with an overflowing drawer of dated glasses we wouldn’t be caught dead in now. If you find yourself in a drawer-cleaning frenzy, you might turn to our favorite recycling guide for advice on what to do with that pile of old glasses. We also stumbled across what to do with printer cartridges (also in a drawer) and mobile phones (yes, they usually have a drawer too). Read here for tips on how to recycle eyeglasses, printer cartridges and mobile phones—those junk drawer items it just doesn’t feel right to throw away—and learn how to contribute to charity at the same time.

Our municipal recycling charts tell us all about juice cartons and newspapers, but eyeglasses and mobile phones? No.

Take eyeglasses to retailers for use in the third world. The Lions Club has a huge eyeglass recycling program. In 2005 they collected more than 5 million pairs of eyeglasses, distributing them to more than 3 million people in developing nations.

Give your old eyeglasses to any Uniontown Lions member or leave a comment below and I will be happy to email you an address so that you may mail your donation to us.