As I mentioned last time, May is Eyeglass Recycling Month for Lions Clubs around the globe, and it is a month that brings to light an early mission of Lions International -- aiding the blind and visually impaired.
A little history. In 1925, just eight years after the first club was founded, and only 5 after it gained its international status with clubs in Canada, Helen Keller addressed the Lions Clubs International Convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, USA, and challenged Lions to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness." Since then, one of the main focuses of the organization is to aid the blind and visually impaired.
In addition to our ongoing collection of eyeglasses to recycle and donations to those organizations who support the visually impaired, we like to do some hands on work as well. This month we assisted two different groups with special projects that do just that.
On May 5th and 6th a group of club members went to Camp Marcella, a facility owned by the NJ Camp for Blind Children, to help with the spring cleanup to ensure the property is ready for its campers this summer. For those who may not be aware, the camp is located at 27 Durham Road in Rockaway, NJ and is open to anyone ages 6-19 who is visually impaired. Camp Marcella comprises over 200 acres of woodland surroundings and a clear fish laden lake, with all of its facilities designed for the best possible care of children and teens with blindness, visual impairments and special needs. It is a wonderful place and we are so proud to be able to assist them.
While at Camp Marcella, the Chester Lions Club had the opportunity to help prepare the Camp Director’s lodge for the upcoming camping season. Seven of our members worked together straightening up and cleaning out the three room cabin, washing windows, painting trim, tidying up the grounds around the cabin, and more in order to prepare the space for the director’s arrival. The camp has several buildings, and it was so wonderful to work on site with so many other Lions and Leo Clubs from around the state.
The following weekend was one of hands-on activity as well for our club. This time, the Chester Lions Club went to the House of Prayer Episcopal Church located at 407 Broad Street in Newark, NJ where the church sponsored a health fair. Each year, the House of Prayer tries to conduct a health fair in the spring for the local residents, some of whom don't have the opportunity to see doctors otherwise. In addition to providing financial support for the vision screening portion of the fair, the Chester Lions Club was more than happy to participate in its service to the local neighborhood as well.
Lion Stan Pukash was on hand to assist with the running of the screening, along with members from other Lions Clubs from around the state. Eye examinations were provided by the Lions Eye/Ear Mobile to anyone at the fair. The Rev. Canon Wade A. Renn communicated his thanks to the Chester Lions Club for all of their help, “This opportunity (the eye screening) has proven over the years to be very popular and valued by both those being tested and the church.”
Volunteering with projects like these really help to remind us how lucky we really are. They are truly rewarding experiences, and we encourage others to get involved. For more information about any of these organizations, please leave your comments below. And as always, please check us out at www.chesterlionsclub.com or visit us at our facebook page www.facebook.com/chesterlionsclubnj for more information about our club, events and how to get involved!