Lions to collect eyeglasses

Published 9:32 am Friday, September 23, 2011

Arlene Richter, left, works with residents from Lima, Peru, at the Casa Hogar Juan Pablo II orphanage in Lima last January. The LakeView Lions are holding an eye-glass collection event Oct. 1. -- Submitted photo

The LakeView Lions Club of Albert Lea will hold its inaugural eyeglasses collection event in an effort to raise 1,000 eyeglasses.

Member Arlene Richter said if the event goes well it might become a yearly event, because the Lions are always collecting glasses to send to less fortunate people who cannot afford them or eye exams.

“This is a new project for our club,” Richter said. “We’d like to make it an annual event.”

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The Great Eye Glass Roundup will be from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 1 in the Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea’s east parking lot. They will be collecting any and all eyeglasses and hearing aids.

Richter has seen the good these donated glasses can do firsthand. She and fellow LakeView Lion Diane Vander Syde, along with other volunteers, traveled to Lima, Peru, on a mission to help people see better.

“All the people that come are the poorest and neediest in the region,” Richter said.

The mission trip was during the second week of January at Casa Hogar Juan Pablo II, an orphanage in Lima. Volunteers paid their own airfare and stayed at the orphanage during the mission.

Richter said the volunteers saw almost 3,000 patients for eye exams and to fit them with boxes and boxes of prescription eyeglasses. She said she enjoyed seeing where the donated eyeglasses go and helping people be able to see better.

“I’d wanted to do this for a long time,” Richter said. “I just thought it would be a great experience.”

Richter said recently local professionals in Lima have been willing to help out by offering eye surgeries and helping those with unusual prescription needs at reduced prices. Glasses are collected throughout the year by Lions groups and are sent to a team who determine the prescription and sort the glasses.