Hawaii Lions Clubs
By MidWeek Staff Share Del.icio.us
According to the World Health Organization, uncorrected vision disorders are the main cause of vision impairment worldwide. It also reports that a majority of the world’s visually impaired live in developing countries. To get corrective eyeglasses to those who need them, Hawaii Lions clubs are participating in the third annual Lions In Sight project Saturday, Jan. 28 to collect used eyeglasses and distribute them to various countries. Also, for the first time, the clubs will collect hearing aids at the event.
Lions Clubs is an international volunteer organization that participates in a range of service activities. Hawaii Lions Clubs is comprised of 66 clubs with about 1,800 members.
“The Lions’ motto is ‘We Serve,’” says Alice Kudo, a club member who is spearheading this year’s eyeglass recycling program. “And for the Lions, the signature project is working with vision and hearing.”
Member Chris Tamura explains that the Lions have been working to help the visually impaired since the 1920s. Lions also conduct hearing and vision screenings in public schools throughout the state.
The glasses and hearing aids collected will be distributed to countries including the Philippines and Cambodia. Recently, 5,000 pairs of glasses were donated to Afghanistan. After the glasses are collected, Lions clean them and determine the prescriptions. From there, they arrange to have the donations distributed either through Lions Clubs mission trips or partnerships with other Lions chapters or other organizations. For example, Kudo explains that they are working with a doctor who will bring glasses on a medical mission trip later this year.
“Normally, when they take the glasses, they always come back and say it wasn’t enough,” Kudo says. “So it is a continuous process. We need to continue to get all of these people fitted for glasses, and there are millions of them out there. It is a staggering amount.”
Hawaii Lions Clubs also participate in other local and international services. “We do environmental projects and food collections,” says Hawaii Lions Clubs public relations chairman Irwin Santos. “And then each club throughout the state does different things. One club is fixing up a local community park, others are working with Meals On Wheels.”
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