New Jersey Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center NJLERC Tour
Alan P. Brewer, President
NJ Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center
Lions Clubs International is dedicated to protecting and enhancing eyesight worldwide. To fulfill our part in this grand scheme, the New Jersey Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center was established in 1997. Our operations are based in donated space at the Marie Katzenbach School for the Deaf in West Trenton.
We are one of 18 approved Lions eyeglass recycling centers in seven nations that collectively collect an average of 6.5 million pairs of eyeglass per year. But the need is even larger.
According to the World Health Organization, 153 million people have uncorrected near-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism. These impairments can usually be quickly diagnosed and easily treated with corrective lenses – with life-changing results. In many cases, poor vision can make literacy impossible at any age. For children, clear vision translates to better education and a better life. It enables adults to earn more and lift their families out of poverty. So Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center’s all around the world collect, clean and sort prescription eyeglasses for re-distribution.
New Jersey Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center
The New Jersey Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center is proud to be one of busiest of those centers. In the 2016-17 fiscal year, we collected and processed an estimated 1,015,572 pairs of eyeglasses and forwarded 73,928 pairs of eyeglasses to 50 mission groups. Those groups traveled to 22 countries to give the gift of sight to about 61,120 visually impaired people. The Center also maintains an inventory of approximately 20,000 pair of eyeglasses.
Our work involves a complex coordination of volunteers across our state that includes eyeglass-processing help from senior citizens under the leadership of the Lakehurst-Manchester Club and from inmates of two state prisons – Edna Mahon Correctional Facility for Women near Clinton and the Adult Diagnostic Training Center in Avenel.
Each year the governor designates May as New Jersey Eyeglass Recycling Month, which is a time for a special eyeglass-collecting campaign by our Eyeglass Recycling Center. The energetic participation of our local Lions Clubs in this effort is the much-appreciated key to its success.
Meanwhile, Lions Club International Foundation works with Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers like ours to provide brand-new eyeglasses to needy people through local Lions Clubs and our state-wide vision program called CURE (Correcting Uncorrected Refractive Error).
This effort is aided by optometrists and ophthalmologists who donate eye exams to the needy, and the many companies that donate unsold eyeglass frames.
Through the New Jersey CURE program, a financially needy person contacts a local Lions Club for assistance. Then, with the NJCURE Coordinator's help, the person receives a pro bono exam. The resulting prescription is sent to Essilor Labs in Warren, NJ where a frame is pulled from inventory and processed. The spectacles are then sent to the eye-care provider to be fitted and dispensed.
This program has grown so that NJCURE is giving the gift of sight to well over 300 people in New Jersey and Pennsylvania with free eye exams and custom eyeglasses.
The N.J. Eyeglass Recycling Center appreciates the support of the Council of Governors, District Charitable Foundations and to the numerous Lions Clubs who have assisted us throughout the year. We offer special thanks to our Executive Director, PCC Mary Devon O’Brien, Treasurer Gil Halliez, Vice President Ralph Sims and the entire Board of Trustees, who all gave generously of their time and effort.
I also thank Lions Bob Losco, Bert Sanford, Lou Peoples, Richard Chittum as well as the Lakehurst-Manchester Lions Club for their hard work. The Allentown Lions Club, which helped us reorganize our inventory and storage system, also deserves our gratitude.
We look forward to continuing our volunteer work with all Lions as we strive to meet the growing demand for recycled eyeglasses worldwide. With your help and support, NJCURE and the N.J. Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center will continue making a difference as we try to live up to our motto, ‘We serve.”
The New Jersey Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center
Operating Center at Katzenbach School for the Deaf
320 Sullivan Way, West Trenton, NJ 08628
NJLERC@aol.com (908) 788-5466
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