With the help of the Cortland Lions Club and permission from the City of Niles Mayor's office and the Niles Post Office, the Niles Lions Club placed a permanent drop box for used eyeglasses in front of the post office on West Park Avenue.
"We hope Niles residents will use it so they can help our friends in foreign countries who need glasses," said Pete Toto, past president of the Niles Lions Club.
Lions Clubs throughout the country collect used eyeglasses year round to deliver to regional Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers. At the centers, volunteers clean and sort the glasses by prescription strength. After sorting, the glasses are packaged and shipped to developing countries where they are distributed to people in need.
The Niles Lions Club have placed an eyeglass collection box in front of the Niles Post Office where people can drop off used eyeglasses to be sent overseas to help those in need of glasses. The box was presented to the Niles club by the Cortland Lions Club. Pictured, from left, are Pete Toto, past president, Niles Lions Club; Bill Cavender, past president, Cortland Lions Club; Basil Jarrett, chairman, Cortland Lions Eye Care Foundation; Jim Fisher, president, Cortland Lions Club; Tim Kopcash, Niles Postmaster; Ralph Sharpe, Zone 1 co-chairman, Niles Lions Eye Care Foundation; and Rob Kagarise, past president and co-chair zone 1, Niles Eye Care Foundation.
"In this country the glasses are fitted to people, but in those countries, the people are fitted to the glasses," said Ralph Sharpe, Zone 1 co-chairman of the Niles Lions Eye Care Foundation.
"Used glasses can't be reused in the U.S.," Sharpe said, " so they go to foreign countries."
The drop boxes, originally book drop off boxes, were acquired by the Cortland Lions Club and repainted by Jeff Payne of Payne Auto Body, said Bill Cavender of the Cortland Lions Club. The Cortland club donated one of the boxes to the Niles organization.
Anyone with used eyeglasses can drop them off in the box that will permanently sit in front of the post office. Members of the Niles club will periodically collect the glasses to be sent to Lions International for processing.
Glasses are distributed to those in need at no charge.