Rocklin’s little Lions Club comes up big

Group collects 30,000 eyeglasses for Folsom Project
By: Lauren Gibbs, The Placer Herald
-A +A
For the Rocklin Lions Club, their membership size doesn’t hold them back. With less than 10 active members, the club has collected approximately 30,000 eyeglasses this year for the Folsom Project, where eyeglasses are collected, sorted and shipped to the Folsom Prison where they are sanitized, repaired and labeled. The usable glasses are then used for programs such as Doctors Without Borders. Rocklin Lions member Max Best said some of the club’s collected glasses have been shipped across the world, to placed like Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico and the Philippines. Lions Clubs International have made it their long-time goal to provide assistance with sight programs — providing vision screenings, collecting eye wear and eye care services for the blind. Locally, the Rocklin Lions Club has stepped up to that challenage and has contributed 140,000 glasses since July 1, 2005 to the international mission. “We’ve become the biggest juggernot,” Best said of their effort. When the club first began their eyeglasses collections, they didn’t collect nearly as many as they collect today. “That changed when Allen got on board,” Best said. “He keeps upping the anty.” For the last two years, they’ve reached the 30,000 mark and Lions member Allen Richards keeps increasing their annual goal. Richards, who is visually impaired, calls lost and founds across the country. “Anywhere there’s people,” he said. He’s found that Las Vegas casinos draw in boxes of eyeglasses. Drop boxes are also placed across the county in elementary schools, churches, libraries, pharmacies, grocery stores and other public locations. The collected glasses are shipped or collected and brough to Best’s Rocklin home, where they are sorted and shipped to Folsom for their inspection. “Our philiosphy is that we just don’t throw money at a project — we get actively involved,” Best said. Best joined the Lions Club in 1972 while working as a school administrator. He was encouraged by the district superintendent to join a service club within the community and has been an active member ever since. Today, the club consists of 15 members, with only nine active members. But that doesn’t stop them from giving back. Club member Victor Tulbure is a fairly new member. He joined about three years ago after his grandsom was involved in the group’s student speaking contest. He said he finds there’s always some way to get involved in the group. “Within our club alone, there seems to be one activity per week we can do,” Tulbure said. In addition to collected glasses, the club also collects cell phones and purchases 300-minute pre-paid calling cards to sent to soldiers overseas. Through a partnership with local Boy Scout Troop 29, they’ve helped clean Johnson-Springview Park and other service projects. Members also assisted with directing traffic during the recent Sierra Century bike race. “It’s a volunteer organization — we just help wherevever needed,” Tulbure said. The Rocklin Lions Club is seeking additional members. If you’re interested in joining the service organization, contact Max Best at 632-1294 or John Lehmann at 624-4400.