An initiative inspired by a patient, designed by a student and given a helping hand by the Penticton Lions Club is distributing pairs of eye glasses to hundreds of people around the world.
It was a patient of South Okanagan Eye Surgeons that travelled to Africa at least once a year who initially sparked the idea.
“He was the one who asked if we had any extra pairs of glasses or knew anyone who did,” Dr. Joel Post, who co-owns the practice with Dr. Carl Peters.
They have been collecting glasses for over a year and a half.
“I don’t think he’s a patient here anymore,” Post laughed. “But the idea stuck and that’s what counts.”
That was nearly two years ago and now South Okanagan Eye Surgeons has over 100 pairs of glasses that were collected in a box designed by a local student.
Andrew McKibben, a Grade 7 student at Holy Cross, is the son of Laura McKibben who is a secretary at South Okanagan Eye Surgeons. She knew her son was interested in the arts and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to collaborate.
“I struggled to find a way to put something on the box, but I decided on the glasses because I had read a book and those were on the cover and I thought that’s fun and it would be cool to put on,” Andrew said.
He designed the box featuring the iconic Groucho glasses and moustache design.
“It was great because I got to help out tons of other people,” Andrew said.
A recent connection with the Lions Club will now give the glasses a home and get them to people who need them.
“It was full, absolutely full and we didn’t know what to do with them so I did a little research and learned that the Lion’s Club will actually take them,” Laura said.
Over 100 pairs of glasses were collected and now they are sent to a Lion’s Club warehouse in Calgary where a team cleans, fixes and sanitizes them. The glasses are fixed up for a trip overseas to be put in the hands of those who need them in developing countries.
“It’s great. We haven’t had anybody collecting eye glasses, other than the Okanagan Falls Lion’s Club, in the Penticton area for a number of years,” said Dave Shalanski, with the Penticton Lion’s Club.