Eyeglass donation drive and drive-thru barbecue a success
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
The Sioux Lookout Lions Club and the Rotary Club of Sioux Lookout partnered to host a successful drive-thru barbecue event and an eyeglass donation drive on July 3, in support of an eye care project in Arequipa, Peru.
Sioux Lookout Lions Club President Chris Larsh said, “The event was a great success when you consider how rare it is to find opportunities to partner with other local service clubs, and how difficult it has been to get together as members. It was nice to see Lions and Rotarians working together. And thanks to the Firefighters Association for the use of their coolers, we made this a true community event.”
Burgers, hotdogs, chips and pop were served at the event, which ran for three hours last Saturday.
A donation box was set up by local Rotarians for people to drop off their eyeglasses.
Rotary Club of Sioux Lookout Past-President Tara Drew said that their endeavor to collect eyeglasses received support from others Rotary Clubs of their Rotary district, collecting a total of approximately 1000 eyeglasses. “Those Rotarians managed to gather approximately 600 glasses for us already, and they are shipped here now. And we also have probably a good 200-300 glasses now, and more keep coming in. So, we are very thankful to the communities and to our colleagues for supporting the cause.”
Larsh said that they were prepared to serve 500 meals, and approximately 83 vehicles attended the drive-thru event, raising an estimated $250 to $300. He said that while their typical fundraisers during this time of the year were to supplement costs for firework on Canada Day, this year’s proceeds would be used towards local organizations in need. Larsh added, “For this time of the year, we generally raise money which would go to offset the cost of our fireworks, and since we haven’t set fireworks for this year, we will be using this for local causes. So…some of the local organizations that are always in needs of small injections of money, rather than big donations.”
Larsh shared that they also received a donation of $250 from Drayton Cash N Carry, which will be used towards the fireworks for next year’s Canada Day celebration.
Drew said that with the Sioux Lookout Lions Club being a regular contributor to eyeglass donation drives, this partnership emerged when the Rotary Club signed up to work on a similar project in Peru. She said, “The partnership started after the Sioux Lookout Rotary Club developed a partnership with the Rotary Club of Arequipa, in Peru, to outfit an ophthalmology van and then the push came to collect glasses, and so the Lions Club in town is renowned for its ability to get glasses and collect glasses, so we thought what better partner than that, and if we can help out with their fundraising in any way, that would be a wonderful thing.”
Larsh said that these donations will help people in need, who may not have access to proper eye care. He said, “A community at very high altitude, very high UV, so there is a lot of cataracts and also other eye problems. Also, a very impoverish community, so they don’t have money for optometrist visits or to buy eyeglasses. So, it’s you give them a pair of glasses that is way off their prescription, but because their eyes are so bad, it is enough of an improvement that they would be all excited about it. We came up with the idea of running a combined Lions and Rotary event, because vision has been a Lion’s concern for many, many years…and the opportunity to give people a reason to come out and donate eyeglasses and learn a little bit about the cause, and have some barbecue and make a day of it.”