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Local Lions distribute donated eyeglasses

VERGENNES — From July 2016 to June 2017 Vermont Lions Club members have been quietly collecting eyeglasses from the public and stashing them away in the basement of Vergennes Lion Brad Howe, the chairmen of the effort. 
On June 14, under Howe’s direction, members of the Vermont clubs delivered about 15,000 pairs of eyeglasses to the New Jersey Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center (LERC) in West Trenton, N.J. More than 3,000 of those glasses were from the Lions Club donation boxes in Brandon, Middlebury and Vergennes.
The Lions expressed their appreciation and thanks to everyone who donated used — even broken — eyeglasses, sunglasses and readers.
Lions volunteers at the LERC process 1.2 million pairs of glasses each year. The recycling center is big — about the size of a football field.
Their process starts with an initial sorting of incoming glasses.  Prescription glasses that are undamaged are sorted for further processing.  Damaged glasses and all non-prescription glasses are sorted into either plastic or metal recycling bins. 
They send the plastic and metal to California for recycling and use the funds earned to operate the facility.
Next step is to sanitize the good prescription glasses. Each pair of glasses is then measured with a lensometer, individually bagged with the prescription data, and finally stored by prescription until called upon for distribution. 
The New Jersey LERC is a 501 (c)3 volunteer organization that provides recycled eyeglasses to Lions and other mission groups who perform vision screening and/or eye examinations in developing countries and the United States. The New Jersey center distributes 50,000 to 100,000 glasses annually.
Glasses are distributed for free to Lions missions around the world. Other organizations are charged a handling fee of $5 for each 800 pair of glasses.

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