I am writing this letter is thank the many people who donate used eyeglasses to local Lions Clubs. Each year the Lions send thousands of eyeglasses to recycling centers for sorting and grading. The glasses are then sent with missions around the world to give sight where people can least afford glasses.
The need is overwhelming. As I was writing this I am reminded of how many times I have been asked why Lions do this and why we work so hard to prevent blindness and help alleviate the suffering of those who are sight impaired? Before I answer this question, I need to explain that the Lions do so much more for our communities, like parks, support kids programs, provide scholarships, give food baskets, sponsor Scouts and more. The reason why Lions have this focus on sight started with Helen Keller, our first female member. She challenged Lions Clubs to be the “knights of the blind.”
Since that challenge, the Lions have helped start schools for the blind, provided trained guide dogs, helped eradicate river blindness and introduced the white cane to America. These are just a few of our milestones. In our state, Lions started what has become the world’s largest eye bank in Seattle. We operate a camp for kids with diabetes and lead a fight against measles, both major causes of blindness. We also screen over 30,000 children a year free of charge for vision and hearing issues.
Locally, Everett Central Lions have held a salmon derby for the blind for the past 67 years; encouraged the Everett Parks Department to create Braille signage and a sensory garden and are assisting the homeless and needy with glasses. These lists can go on and on.
Again, thank you for donations and when you give us your used eyeglasses or donate to Lions White Cane Days think of Helen Keller who started us on this path in 1925. She did more than overcome lack of sight and hearing, she inspired a great organization that has become the world’s largest service club. Helen Keller continues to remind us with her quote, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”
Note, Wednesday was Helen Keller’s birthday.
Everett Central Lions Club