Former mailbox is Lions’ drop-off site for used eyeglasses

CHESTERTOWN — The Lions Club here has taken a former U.S. Postal Service box and made it into a very visible drop-off location for donated used eyeglasses. The brightly painted purple box is located in the 100-block of North Cross Street between the Kent County Chamber of Commerce headquarters and Chestertown’s town hall.

According to a news release, Chestertown Lions Club member Mike Gallagher found the mailbox and coordinated its refurbishment. 

He said that on his way to Wilmington, Delaware one day he spotted the mailbox – in need of some TLC – on DuPont Highway in front of an old machine shop.

“I knocked and inquired,” Gallagher recounted in the news release.

The owner asked what Gallagher’s intentions were for the mailbox.

“I explained it was for the Lions Club, to which he responded ‘Awesome, take it!’”

Gallagher said the man even helped to load the mailbox into his vehicle.

The owner told Gallagher that his local Lions Club had helped him achieve his Eagle Club status.

Black Dog Blasting sandblasting company and Zierfuss Painting and Restoration reconditioned the mailbox, and provided the labor at no cost.

Todd Smith of Todd’s Bodyshop in Chestertown fixed a leg on the mailbox and performed some additional body work.

Other Lions Club-sponsored collection containers may be found at the following locations: Peoples Bank,
Redner’s Food Market,  Shore United Bank,  Heron Point,  Aqua Fit, St. Paul’s parish hall, Seidenberg Protzko Eye Associates,  Dependable Eye Care, Chester River Yacht & Country Club, University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown, Kent County Public Library in Chestertown and Women in Need resale store.

Donated glasses are shipped to Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers where trained volunteers sort, clean and determine the prescription strengths of the glasses.

Volunteers at the recycling centers carefully package the prepared glasses and store them until they are required for eyeglass-dispensing missions.

According to the news release, eyeglasses that are not suitable for reuse are recycled for scrap. Any money recouped from this is put toward local Lions and Leos projects.

At optical mission sites, eye care professionals and trained Lion and Leo volunteers perform vision screenings and dispense the appropriate recycled glasses at no cost to children and adults in need.

Combating vision impairment and blindness is one of the signature programs of Lions Clubs International, the largest membership-based service club organization in the world.

Locally, the Chestertown club subsidizes eyeglass purchases for those who need financial assistance and provides transportation at no cost for those who are unable to drive or do not have a vehicle.

Chestertown Lions have assisted with screening Kent County elementary school children for vision problems.

The club also donates to the Lions Leader Dogs for the Blind program and Johns Hopkins’ Wilmer Eye Institute research program.

Two years ago, the Chestertown Lions Club purchased a bioptic telescope for a vision-impaired teacher in Kent County.


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