Local Lions have collected over 20,000 pairs of eyeglasses. "Beyond all expectations!" This has been the response of Lions throughout the United States to the Sightfirst Eyeglass recycling program.
Since the program began in August 1991, used eyeglasses by the hundreds of thousands have been pouring into regional centers in Indiana and California. These centers were established as part of a one-year pilot project to develop a nationally coordinated system in the United States for the collection, processing, storage and distribution of used eyeglasses.
The project was funded by a $50,000 grant approved by the SightFirst Proposal Review Committee of Lions Clubs International August 2, 1991.
To meet the need for expansion of the pilot project, the Proposal review Committee approved additional funds in July 31, 1991.
The new $116,600 SightFirst grant funds start-up costs for three proposed regional centers in Virginia, Wisconsin and Texas and continuing costs for the two existing centers.
Lions involvement in eyeglass recycling plays an important role in helping SightFirst improve the vision of thousands of men, women and children in developing countries.
Lions clubs collect used eyeglasses by placing collection boxes in the community.
At the club level Lions sort donated eyeglasses and prepare them for shipping to a SightFirst Eyeglass Recycling Center. Used eyeglasses are then processed, cleaned and sorted at the regional centers by Lion volunteers.
Last year, more than 1 million eyeglasses were shipped to the Indiana and California centers.
Each pair of usable eyeglasses is placed in a plastic pouch and labeled according to prescription. A database at each center maintains records of eyeglasses avaliable for distribution.
Orders for used eyeglasses to be distrtibuted in developing countries are filled at the regional centers. Eyeglasses in the prescriptions requested are selected from the inventory and prepared for shipping.
More than 250,000 eyeglasses have been shipped from the regional centers to countries all over the world.
Eye exams and eyeglass distributions are important aspects of many SightFirst funded and other Lions sight-related projects. Lions in Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Panama and Ethiopia have been among those to receive SightFirst recycled eyeglasses.
Befinning in 1968, the Leavenworth Lions Club has awarded a scholarship to a selected senior graduating from Leavenworth High School in memory of Eldon Luehring, a past president of the Lions Club.
These scholarships have been increased over the past 32 years. In 1997 the club awarded a $500 scholarship.
In 1980, the Lions also inaugurated a second scholarship in memory of Eldon Luehring to a graduating senior from Immaculata High School.
In 1992 the Lions Club redesignated the two Eldon Luehring scholarships as "Lions Club Scholarships," one awarded to a student from Leavenworth High School and one to a gratuating senior from Immaculate High School.
From the estate of Chester E Morris, a longtime member of the Leavenworth Club and a past Lions district governor, the Chester E Morris scholarship was established in 1980. The Chester E Morris scholarship is annually awarded to a Leavenworth High School graduate. The scholarships is valued at $1,000.
Upon her passing the Lions Club created another scholarship, the Annabelle and Chester E. Morris scholarship and began presenting two Annabelle and Chester E Morris / Leavenworth Lions Scholarships each valued at $1,000.
Also upon her passing the Lions Club created another scholarship, the Annabelle Peterson Morris/ Leavenworth Lions Scholarship, which is also valued at $1,000.
The Leavenworth Lions Club also created the Edward E. Powers / Leavenworth Lions Scholarships which is also valued at $500.
The Leavenworth Lions Club also presents the Leavenworth Lions Club / Immaculata High School Scholarship which is valued at $750.
The Leavenworth Lions Club also presents several Leavenworth Lions Club Memorial Scholarships which is valued at $500.
A minimum of seven scholarships are awarded yearly upon approval by the Club Scholarship Committee following rules of eligibility based upon academic accomplishments and other guidelines.
Over $6,000 in scholarships is avaiable each year from the Leavenworth Lions Club.
Each year, as Christmas draws near, a large number of middle-aged elves (Leavenworth Lions in disguise) take to the streets for the annual Salvation Army Bell Ringing campaign. Organized by Salvation Army Corps Administrators , donated funds are used in a variety of worthwhile Salvation Army programs.
This past year the Leavenworth Lions Club collected approximately $11,000 for the Salvation Army.
Many Christmas shoppers receive an occasional treat when they are witness to impromptu performances by the locally famous Cody Choraliers, a group of Barbershop Quartet afficionados who enjoy entertaining the crowds.
One of the most persistent Lions bell ringers was Lion Bill Ruckhaber, who in 1997 rang his bell for 57 hours. Because of his dedication to Lionism and Bell Ringing the "Bill Ruckhaber" Memorial Award is now presented annualy to the Lion racking up the most Bell Ringing hours.
Bell ringing is a proud Leavenworth Lions tradition. Next time you see a Leavenworth Lion ringing the annual Christmas bell, make a request and drop in a coin. You'll be glad you did!
We welcome your questions and comments
Webmaster: Lion John Raletz