Two Gateway Community College (GCC) students started an eyeglass donation drive as a service project in their Learning in the Clinical Environment class this semester and members of the GCC community have already donated more than 220 pairs. The used glasses will be donated to the Lion’s Club Low Vision Center in Bristol to be recycled, refurbished and given to people who need them.
“We wanted to do something different and glasses are extremely important to people,” said GCC student Derek Wijsenbeek, who worked with GCC student Katie Kyte on the project. “Many of the people who get these glasses are in tough financial situations and can’t afford the extensive amount of money it takes to get prescription glasses and other eye care.”
Donation boxes are located just outside the Gateway Cafeteria and the Library and Learning Commons. The drive has been going so well, Wijsenbeek said, they plan to extend it into next semester.
On its website, the Lion’s Club said millions of people in developing nations are pushed deeper into poverty because they don’t have glasses; others can’t learn because reading is difficult without glasses. Many people in the United States are also in great need of glasses. Lions clubs collect millions of eyeglasses each year. For less than eight cents, the club can provide a pair of recycled eyeglasses and change someone's life. To watch the journey of a pair of eyeglasses – how they move from a donation box to a recipient click here.
Wijsenbeek encouraged students, faculty and staff to drop off used prescription glasses, reading glasses and sunglasses to one of the two boxes this holiday season and beyond.
“I’m really happy with the response,” he said. “As long as people keep donating glasses, we will keep going. I hope we get a ton more.”