The late Lion Ray Trudel started the Barrhaven Lions Club eyeglasses recycling project in 2001 just after he transferred into our Club. At that time Lion Ray was a one man show and collected from two locations in Barrhaven. He collected about 500 pairs of glasses per year.
Lion Ray also made a number Lion organized trips to the Caribbean with eye care teams to help hundreds of sight challenged people. This endeavour is still carried out today by the Kemptville Lions Club. They recently returned from a Lions eyeglass journey in Guyana and helped over 1,000 people.
Upon Lion Ray's death in 2011, the Barrhaven Lions took up his legacy under Sight Chairman; Lion Ross Baldwin. The Barrhaven Lions are now collecting from over twenty locations in Barrhaven, in Nepean and beyond. The Barrhaven Lions now collect roughly 1,500 glasses a month.
Until recently, glasses from District A4 Clubs were brought to the A4 Convention each year, where the Kemptville Lions usually took them and sorted them. Since 2013, the Barrhaven Lions were collecting over 500 pairs per month. This is far more than the Kemptville Lions require and Barrhaven Lions Club provides Kemptville with glasses as they require when their own supply is insufficient.
Given the number of gasses that the clubs in District A4 collect, we find that there is no place in the District where there is adequate storage and given that Kemptville requires a small amount of the glasses collected to meet their requirements, the remaining glasses are sent to The Canadian Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centre (CLERC) in Calgary.
Shipping glasses to Calgary has been a problem over the years in finding companies willing to ship the glasses for little or no cost. The last company to help us terminated their support in late 2015. This resulted in no glasses being sent for a year. Lion Ross stockpiled close to 15,000 glasses in his carport until new transportation was found. Finally in late 2017 Lion Tom Feltmate found a company called Day & Ross Moving that agreed to perform this service for the District at no charge, if the glasses were properly packaged, labelled and delivered to them as skid loads.
Preparation for Shipping
Lion Ross has generously undertaken to become the collection point for the District since he lives only 2 kilometres away from the Day & Ross Moving Company. We invite other clubs to drop their eyeglasses off at Lion Ross' but they must be packaged properly. His address his 1030 Connery Avenue, Ottawa in Elmvale Acres area. His telephone number is (613) 737-7422. Lion Ross will do the labelling and he will deliver them to the Moving Company. A shipment is prepared for delivery every 3 months.
It is understood that Value Village will take all discarded eye glass cases. Rather than throwing these in the garbage, check your local Value Village outlet to see if they will receive them. All sales of these cases go to a number of worthwhile charities. Visit their web site to see what they support https://www.valuevillage.com/
What happens to collected glasses?
As mentioned previously a small portion of collected glasses are used by the Kemptville Lions Club. The remainder of the collection is sent to The Canadian Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centre (CLERC) in Calgary, one of nineteen Lion Recycling Centres around the world. All the work is done by volunteers without remuneration. To understand the value of the work we collectively do by collecting and shipping recycled glasses, please visit their web site at http://www.clerc.ca
Dilemma of Success – Require other Lions Clubs Help
Because Barrhaven Lions are collecting from so many locations, word is getting around and other branches of the optical centres throughout the city are calling us to pick up from their locations. We are already over tasked with collection and we call upon other Lions Clubs to help with this burden by taking some of these pickup locations off our hands. We also believe that Lions Clubs not already involved in this project should begin to collect in their own area. After all are we “Knights of the Blind”. And what easier way can we live up to that obligation than collect recycled eyeglasses so that others might be given the gift of better vision.