Source: The Independent

Glasses For The Needy

by Kitty Merrill

February 06, 2013

The ability to see and the ability to take advantage of all a library has to offer go hand-in hand, East Hampton Library Dennis Fabiszak pointed out. That’s why he was “thrilled” last Friday when members of the East Hampton Lions Club Health and Sight Committee brought an eyeglass collection box to the Main Street facility.

According to Lion Russ Calemmo, the club collected 5500 pairs of glasses from the community, using the mailbox shaped receptacles found in several places locally, plus Southampton Hospital, where he estimated another 250 to 300 pairs were amassed.

From the East End, the glasses are sent to a facility in New Jersey for inspection and sterilization. Next, they’re sent to third world countries under the auspices of Lions Club International. “It’s a great project,” Calemmo said.

“We’re basically a sight organization,” he continued, inviting Don Huntting, a nearly 50-year member, and Frank Dalene into the conversation. Dalene’s wife, Gwen, is one of the club’s first female members. Larry Otto was on hand as well.

In addition to their sight-related programs, including a drive to test kids’ vision at local schools, the Lions also help disabled locals by collecting gently used wheelchairs and walkers, plus varied accouterment used by the disabled or sick. “As people need them, they can have them, free of charge,” he explained. The Lions have also built accessibility ramps for locals as well.