New Jersey Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center
Greetings, My name is Alan Brewer, and I am the President of the New Jersey Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center (NJLERC). I am thrilled and honored to be able to lead this spectacular organization.
I first learned about NJLERC while serving as a member of the Hunterdon Hills Lions Club in Clinton, New Jersey. When I met with our Founder, George Johnson to explore ways that we could work together to modernize operations I was excited to volunteer. From the onset I was impressed by the far reach and impact that NJLERC was making providing the “gift of sight” to those less fortunate in remote communities around the world and, I was excited to offer the center my services and resources to be part of that impact.
According to The World Health Organization, 153 Million people have uncorrected refractive errors, commonly referred to as near-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism. Often, these types of vision impairments can be quickly diagnosed and easy to treat with corrective lenses. For children, clear vision translates into better education, healthier development and a better life. Still, millions of people in developing nations are still pushed into poverty simply because they cannot see clearly, learn properly or read. It is for these reasons, Lions’ Clubs and Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers around the world collect, clean, sort and neutralize prescription eyeglass for distribution.
NJLERC was established in 1997-1998 to meet the tremendous need for recycled eyeglasses and to eradicate preventable blindness throughout the world. Each year, individuals donate an average of 6.5 million pairs of eyeglasses to eighteen (18) approved Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers (LERC’s) representing seven different (7) countries: Austria, Canada, France, Italy, South Africa, Spain and the United States. Within North America, thirteen (13) LERC’s have operations in Alaska, Arizona (2), Indiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
As President of New Jersey Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center I am fortunate to oversee one of busiest Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers (LERCs) in North America. Between July 2013 and June 2014, New Jersey Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center collected approximately 976,400 pair of eyeglasses and distributed 106,324 pairs of eyeglasses to 62 mission groups who traveled to 26 different countries to fit an estimated 96,845 visually-impaired people with our eyeglasses. Our work involves the complex coordination of volunteers throughout the tri-state area and includes maintaining recycling operations within two (2) Department of Corrections Institutions. Students at the Brick Township High School “Leos” and seniors at the Lakehurst-Manchester Lions Club assist also by working with processing recycled eyeglasses.
Every year, New Jersey Lions embark on a statewide initiative to collect used eyeglasses and increase public awareness. Governor Christie issued a proclamation naming May 2014 as New Jersey Eyeglass Recycling Month. Once again, State Departments agreed to participate including: Office of the Governor & State House Complex, Department of Agriculture, Department of Banking & Insurance, Department of Corrections, Department of Education, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Health & Senior Services, Department of Human Services, Department of Labor & Workforce Development, Department of Transportation and Department of Treasury.
Last year, NJLERC also kicked-off our Statewide Vision Program named, New Jersey Lions Correcting Uncorrected Refractive Error (NJCURE). The program designed to provide Lions Clubs across the tri-state area with a “cost effective” alternative to paying hundreds of dollars for eye examinations and a pair of custom eyeglasses to financially challenged people was a great success! The NJLERC Board of Trustees has agreed to continue the program for at least another year. I am proud to announce the NJCURE “Pilot” Program is no longer being considered a “Pilot” program henceforth it will be called NJCURE without the word pilot.
It is a great time to be “A Lion” in New Jersey and give thanks for all we do in service together. Special thanks to the Office of the Governor, Board of Trustees, Council of Governors, Lakehurst-Manchester Lions Club, Brick High School Leos, PDG Richard Chittum and the countless number of volunteers who continue to share their time and resources assisting us.
I wish to also acknowledge Superintendent Angel Ramos, staff and the students at Katzenbach School for the Deaf who have supported NJLIONS and our primary mission: “Eradication of Preventable Blindness.”
Together, we can inspire new commitment to New Jersey Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center and simultaneously meet the growing need of mission groups by providing good quality recycled eyeglasses. I look forward to working with you to explore exciting new opportunities which both strengthen our community service work and help those less fortunate.
Please contact me with your thoughts, ideas, and feedback. My door is always open, and I would like to hear from you. The volunteer staff and I are looking forward to having yet another productive year of service as we reflect back on our motto “We Serve.”
Alan P. Brewer
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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