Knit & Crochet Club, Monroe Lions provide access to eye care for those in need

Monroe Lions Club President Frank Bent and members of the Monroe Senior Center's Knit & Crochet Club.

MONROE, CT — Lions Clubs worldwide recycle eyeglasses to help the more than 157 million people who lack access to eye care. This year, the Monroe Senior Center’s Knit & Crochet Club helped the Monroe Lions Club with its annual eyeglasses collection drive.

The Lions collected over 1,200 pairs of used prescription eyeglasses, before women of the Knit & Crochet Club volunteered their time to inspect and package it.

“We had an assembly line set up with four tables,” said Leslie Gennarini, a member of the Knit & Crochet Club. “People went through the initial bunch, discarding things that were no good. Others were wrapping. It went well.”

After discarding eyeglasses with scratches and other defects, club ended up packaging 1,136 pairs of eyeglasses. Monroe’s Community and Social Services Director Kim Cassia coordinated the effort as volunteers completed the work in two sessions, May 17 and 24.

During the drive, the Monroe Lions Club had collection boxes for eyeglasses at several sites around town, including Monroe Town Hall, the Monroe Senior Center, Edith Wheeler Memorial Library, Spadaccino and Leo Gallagher & Son Funeral Home, and MyEyeDr.

Monroe Lions President Frank Bent visited the Senior Center to thank the women for their assistance. “They did every single pair of glasses,” Bent said of the volunteers.

Bent said the packaged eyeglasses were boxed and brought to the nearest Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center in New Jersey.

The Lions Recycling Center with conduct further inspections, cleaning and sorting by prescription strengths before mailing the eyewear to mission sites where trained Lion volunteers and eye care professionals perform vision screening and dispense the appropriate recycled glasses to the recipients free of charge.

In addition to Gennarini, the Knit & Crochet Club includes Carol Delfino, Helma Chartier, Nancy Lee, Ann Seferian, Judy DiMartino, Maria Lee, Pat Shelton and Judy Davis. The club meets at the Senior Center on a weekly basis.

“Many of us teach knitting and crocheting at the library as well,” Gennarini said. “And we have all ages, including from Masuk High School — even some boys.”

She said the club is currently putting together Christmas packages for homeless families, as well as people living at halfway houses.

For information about the Monroe Lions Club, send an email to [email protected].

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