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Loomis Lions help others see

By: Staff Report
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Anyone shopping at Raley’s can’t miss the imperial red eyeglass collection box near the store’s entrance. The Loomis Lions Club located an abandoned post office mail box, painted dark blue, in a local warehouse and went to work removing the paint and rust. They repaired its drop chute and replaced the can’s old lock. With the permission of Raley’s management, the can’s four legs were bolted to the sidewalk in the summer of 2005. Used eyeglasses are dropped into the box almost daily. Hearing aids arrive, as well, along with occasional telephone and power bills and more than a few stamped letters to faraway families. Each misplaced letter is carried by a Lion’s Club member to the nearby blue post office mailbox and deposited. Lions Clubs around the world hold vision assistance as their primary community service. It is the used eyeglasses dropped into the red can by the community that makes the local Lions members able to provide improved vision to villagers in such places as Panama, Mexico, Guatemala and elsewhere outside the United States, at no charge. “When the collection can is nearly full, I take them to a Lions operated assembly area where they are combined with the eyeglasses from other Lions Clubs,” said Lions member Henry Schneider, a local businessman. He said the glasses are then taken to Folsom State Prison where each is carefully cleaned, repaired and given an optic rating system by inmates specially trained for the work. Club President Ron Jones, who is retired from Del Oro High School’s music department, said when his club receives a request for eyeglasses from a Lions Club outside of the United States, the club orders up hundreds of eyeglasses and provides the needed shipping. “We sent 500 children’s eyeglasses to the San Felipe B.C. Lions Club, in Mexico, recently as part of their annual children’s eye clinic,” he said. “Two of our club members carried hundreds of eyeglasses with them in their luggage on two cruises in the Caribbean and made the deliveries in person,” he said. Jones thanks the community for its support through the donation of their used eyeglasses.