Lions and workers at Melwood Horticultural Training Center, which trains the developmentally disabled in Maryland, have teamed together to bring clear vision to those in need in other nations. The Lions Community Outreach Foundation works with the facility to recycle used eyeglasses, opening the District 22-C Eyeglass Recycling Center on the Upper Marlboro campus last fall. The partnership gives some of Melwood’s more than 2,000 clients new skills as well as helping Maryland Lions sort the thousands of used glasses they acquire through donation. Worldwide, there are 17 recycling centers that collect more than four million pairs annually from donations. Melwood is serving as a satellite facility of the Lions recycling center in Falls Church, Virginia, which sends glasses there to be processed by clients who volunteer to work with Lions. A fiveperson Melwood team works with five Lions twice a week to clean and sort the glasses, which are then packed up and sent back to Falls Church to be shipped overseas as needed. The Lions foundation provides the equipment to volunteers, and the Melwood participants learn new skills as well as understanding how their actions are helping others. It’s estimated that 153 million people can benefit from corrective lenses, but much of the world’s population has no access to eye care. According to Betty Moore, co-chair of the Lions project, “It costs less than eight cents to provide someone with recycled eyeglasses.” The Lions foundation sponsors several programs including a mobile health unit used for community clinics, pre-school vision screening and a fund used to pay for sight-saving medical treatments for people in need.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.