On <date> LERCNOVA formally began operations at the newly renovated facility at 919 S. Monroe Street in Arlington. Volunteers may periodically continue to sort incoming donations at the Woodrow Wilson Library. LERCNOVA scheduled operating hours are xx am to xx pm, Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Twenty Thousand Pairs of Recycled Eyeglasses Means Twenty Thousand People Can Now See Better!
By Lion Greg Hart and PCC Sharon Hart
The eyeglass recycling center in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, currently working from the home and shop of Lions Sharon and Greg Hart’s farm, has reached the milestone of 20,000 pairs of glasses recycled since operations began in May of 2020 – and that makes 20,000 people who can see better because of everyone’s efforts! This center is a satellite of the Arlington-based Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center (LERC) NOVA. We began operations with the donation of two lensometers by Lions Orville and Mary Dee and started working in a donated basement of a church in Winchester. Then Lions from West Virginia delivered 9,000 pairs of used glasses that needed to be processed.
LERC NOVA provides boxes and baggies, and Lion Orville showed us how to sanitize, grade, and pack the glasses. The first shipment of 2,300 pairs was delivered to LERC NOVA in October 2020. We overcame a series of setbacks with COVID and the loss of our free space, so we moved the entire operation into the shop on the Hart’s farm. There, we wash glasses in buckets of hot soapy water and grade them in the sunlight to the sounds of the Hart’s wandering flock of tom turkeys. When it gets too cold to work outdoors, we move into the house, wash glasses in the kitchen sink, and grade them in the sun porch.
Lots of Lions, Leos, and friends from Virginia and West Virginia, including one young man only 10 years old and a couple of folks well into their 90s, have come to help process the glasses and even more are collecting glasses to keep us working.
Anyone who wants to help is welcome to come visit the satellite eyeglass recycling center at the farm.
This entire project has been done without a budget because of donated equipment, dish soap, bleach, vinegar, and used towels that are washed daily! It’s just Lions doing what Lions do – always answering a
need! And what could be better than giving the gift of sight!
“Once we realized we were not just washing and packing glasses, but instead, providing sight to people around the world, this project became more rewarding. My optician says the leading cause of vision problems is that people can’t afford glasses.”
Lions volunteers held their first eyeglass sorting work party at the Wilson Library on January 6, 2023. Great work Lions!
Renovations to the “new” Recycling Center continue and should be completed soon! During the interim, Lions under the leadership of Lion Pam Martinov and her husband John Traub having been working at the Woodrow Wilson Library in Falls Church to sort donated eyeglasses. Currently glasses are provided to various volunteers for cleaning and reading of prescriptions at their homes. Glasses that have completed the initial stages of processing are then provided back to the center for boxing and made ready for distribution.
We all look forward to the day when more recycling operations can open up at the Center on Monroe Street in Arlington. Thanks to all the volunteers who have participated in the weekly sessions at the Wilson Library.