LIONS Club members in Australia are playing key roles in helping people around the world see better.
Recycle for Sight Australia has collected more than 2.5 million pairs of used spectacles, sunglasses, new frames and other equipment since the program began in the early 1990s.
The gift of sight can be taken for granted, however it means so much to the recipients of our recycled glasses.
The program distributes regraded or refurbished spectacles to Lions clubs and other humanitarian organisations for people in need.
South Australian Lions clubs are playing their part in giving people the chance of better vision through never-before worn pre-loved spectacles.
One such Lion is Lance Crook, who is not afraid of making a spectacle of himself, especially for a good cause.
The Gillies Plains Lions club member has been actively collecting pre-loved glasses from around his district so they can be dispatched from Australia to meet the needs of Third World countries.
This year he has collected more than 150kg of glasses; at 30grams per pair, that’s a lot!
“I do the collecting because it puts a smile on other people’s faces,” Lance said, “I walk into Specsavers and Phil (the manager) says: ‘Hello Lance. How are you? Come straight through’.”
Lance takes all the glasses that have been donated to Lions and he is often asked: What do you do with them?
“We give them to underprivileged people. You can’t buy that … the happiness that is generated.”
Local drop-in locations include Specsavers and the optical store at Greenacres Village.
Another Lion actively collecting to improve the sight of others is Trevor Mace from the Clare Lions Club.
Trevor took over the Lions’ share of collections from Clare Lions club stalwart Ian Denton about two years ago and has brought a renewed focus to the activity.
“We have sent off about 2000 recycled glasses in the past 12 months from the Clare region,” Trevor, a retired civil engineer, said proudly.
It takes him a few hours a month to collect the old specs and pack them up in former Lions Christmas Cake boxes ready for posting to the Sunshine State.
Ian, who will celebrate 20 years’ service to the Lions in 2022, had been busy for about 10 years collecting and reprocessing the discarded glasses which come from a variety of sources.
The Specsavers store in the main street of Clare is high on the list as wearers update their old spectacles for new pairs.
But there is still room for improvement.
Trevor says, “The Lions furniture shed in Harriett Street will now accept glasses being dropped off.”
In fact all Australian Lions encourage you to drop off your old glasses for recycling.