Putnam Lions send thousands of glasses to needy
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Putnam - posted Fri., Nov. 22, 2013
As a district level zone chairman for Lions International, Greg King oversees the needs and services of five local Lions clubs. “If anyone has a problem, they come to me,” he said. His most recent “problem” was finding enough newspaper to wrap thousands of pairs of donated eye glasses. It was a problem he was happy to have.
Since 1925, the Lions have been engaged in vision assistance programs in the U.S. and abroad. With 1.35 million members and 46,000 clubs, the Lions are working on a global scale to restore sight and fight blindness. Lions have raised more than $346 million for SightFirst, an initiative that targets the major causes of blindness.
Putnam residents and businesses contributed to that effort this year with the donation of thousands of pairs of glasses. King and 25 Putnam Lions and Leos unpacked them from the Lions’ “Sight Mobile” in mid-November. The Cadillac collection vehicle, parked at the Kennedy Drive Shopping Plaza for most of the year, and a collection box at the Putnam Wal-Mart held more than 2,020 pairs of glasses.
Those glasses were wrapped and will be shipped to the Lions International Eyeglass Recycling Center in Virginia, where they will be cleaned and graded for distribution overseas.
“Our district 23C probably collects around 20,000 pairs of glasses,” King said. District 23C encompasses most of the state east of the Connecticut River. There are two other districts in Connecticut.
The Putnam Lions have been collecting eyeglasses since 2004. Their biggest one-year shipment was 2,888 pairs, according to King. In total, the Putnam Lions have packed and shipped 18,132 pairs of glasses.
The Lions also provide assistance to residents in need of glasses and hearing aids. For more information, go to the Putnam Lions Facebook page.