Undistorted views of the world

Recyling community eyeglasses make a clear difference

Life changing views of the world can be accomplished, literally, thanks to community volunteers who see further use in those used-up eyeglasses.

The 100 Mile House Lions Club spokesperson Ron Graves says the Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School (PSO) Amnesty group, Pharmasave, 100 Mile Vision Care and Dr. Specs Optical have all collaborated to collect over 1100 pairs of glasses to be recycled for people in developing countries.

These donated spectacles are first sent to Canadian Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centre depot in Calgary to be measured, classified for prescription and sizes and cleaned, then distributed to various countries around the world, he explains.

Graves adds they shipped them out in 10 boxes on Monday (June 26) by passing them over to British Columbian shipping company, Bandstra Transportation, which takes them as an in-kind donation from here to Edmonton, from where Ontario’s Manatou Forest Products ships them on to Calgary, also for free.

You can drop your old glasses off at either of the downtown opticals or hand them to any Lions member, he notes.

Graves says as soon as they gather any quantity here, local Lions volunteers ship them off to Calgary, with small shipments made as recently as January 2017 – yet they still managed to send out 1,100 pairs in June.

“This one happened to be one of those things that just come together.

“PSO Amnesty had a fairly large donation that had been collected by an individual whom I believe was a Lions member [elsewhere] … they had a donation of glasses, that were directly usable, of 650 pairs. There was also a whole box of parts, of broken lenses and frames, over and above the 650.”

Other increased numbers came when the local club members realized the current international Lions Club program accepts “magnifying” reading glasses and non-prescription sunglasses, so Pharmasave in Cariboo Mall donated plenty of those to add to this week’s shipment, he explains.

Any old style, fit, form or function doesn’t matter, as volunteers are available to reuse the parts, and the recipients don’t care about fashion, he adds.

Graves says for many of the impoverished people with vision impairment problems in developing countries, a simple pair of glasses with the right fit and prescription is life-changing, particularly for those who have never even worn a pair.

This longtime Lions member has been of big benefit to this program too. When asked, Graves humbly admits for about half of his almost 50 years as a 100 Mile Lions, he has been volunteering with this eyeglass recycling program.

“Well, this is one of the projects that we do that takes the least amount of time for the maximum kind of return.”

With all the multitudes available through the Lions eyeglass recycling program, every person with sight impairment who has access to it will find a pair of frames corrective lenses that meet their needs – and every pair, in the South Cariboo and everywhere else, will be recycled and reach a recipient, he explains.

“If you have used eyeglasses, please recycle them, don’t just fire them into the garbage.”

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