Make a difference: Lions Club wants those eyeglasses you’re not using

Chances are you have an old pair of eyeglasses sitting in a dresser drawer or glove compartment that you’re no longer using. They can make a huge difference in another person’s life.

“Sight is a God-given right,” says Randy Keithley, secretary/treasurer of the Downtown Dayton Lions Club. “Contributing to people who are sight-challenged is one of the pillars of our organization.”

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In 1925, Helen Keller addressed the group’s national convention at Cedar Point in Ohio, challenging members to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.”

“Since that time, Lions have worked to eradicate blindness and prevent vision loss through a wide range of programs,” says Melitta Cutright, public relations manager for the international organization. There are now clubs all over the world with about 1.4 million members and the eyeglass project has given millions of glasses to those who can use them most.

The donated eyeglasses are cleaned, sorted by strength, packaged and distributed to those in need, mostly in developing countries, but also in America.

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According to Keithley, the donated glasses from our area are taken to the Ohio State University School of Optometry, where students determine the correct prescription of each pair. “We deliver between 8,000 to 10,000 glasses to Columbus each year,” he says.

Keithley says COVID-19 has reduced the number of glasses his organization is receiving.

What the group wants

  • Prescription glasses
  • Readers
  • Children’s glasses (especially in demand)
  • Sunglasses, both prescription and non-prescription.
  • Eyeglass cases

When in doubt about whether your glasses can be recycled, donate them.

Look for drop-off boxes at your optometrist’s office and locations such as libraries, schools, community centers or places of worship. If going inside the building is a concern, you may want to check with your doctor’s office to see if they can be left in a bag outside the door. All LensCrafters stores throughout the United States have collection boxes. So do corporate-owned Pearle Vision Centers and many of their franchise operations. You’ll find a box in the lobby of the Masonic Temple across from the Dayton Art Institute and we spotted one at the Vandalia Recreation Center. Franco’s Ristorante in the Oregon District also collects the glasses.

You can also drop your glasses at Downtown Dayton Optical at 112 E. Third St.; at Dr. William R. Martin Optical, 1222 S. Patterson Blvd., Room 212, in the green glass medical building at the corner of Stewart and Patterson; Dayton Optometric Center, 813 Troy St.; and some Walmart locations in the area, including Miller Lane.

Want to donate by mail? Send glasses to:

Lions Clubs International Headquarters

Attention: Receiving Department

300 W. 22nd St.

Oak Brook, Ill. 60523

If you have questions, call Randy Keithley at (937) 974-8786.



Great news! Stitches of Love has found a new home

Not long ago, we shared information about a group of women who create handmade items for nonprofit organizations and they were in need of a new home.

I’m happy to report they’ve found one. The group’s Pat Loffer wrote last week to share the good news. “Thank you again for your article featuring stitches of love,” she writes. “We’ve received a few contacts offering supplies and best of all, an offer from the pastor of Belmont United Methodist Church offering us a meeting place once it’s safe for groups to meet at her church. This would never have happened without you.”


Meredith Moss writes about Dayton-area nonprofit organizations and their specific needs. If your group has a wish list it would like to share with our readers, contact Meredith:

Please include a daytime phone number and a photo that reflects your group’s mission.

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