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WL Lions Club collects eyeglasses and hearing aids

City council backs efforts with official proclamation

Armed with an official proclamation by city council, the West Linn Lions' Club has made eyeglass and hearing aid collection the focus of its October efforts, hosting a donation drive throughout West Linn.

On Oct. 15 and Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Lions Club members will accept donations of used eyeglasses and hearing aids at stations set up outside West Linn's Safeway, Albertsons and Market of Choice. They've also set up collection boxes at bank branches throughout the city as well as the West Linn Public Library that will accept donations through the end of the month.

The used eyeglasses and hearing aids will then be reconditioned and distributed to those in need by the Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation.

While the West Linn Lions Club has held eyeglass and hearing aid donation drives in the past, Dick Akins - club member and co-committee chair organizing the drive - said this is the first time its hosted a citywide drive that's been backed by the West Linn City Council, and it's the first club to host a drive of this scale.

On Sept. 26, city council issued a proclamation deeming October Eyeglass and Hearing Aid Donation Month.

'In this economic climate, the city of West Linn is aware of the need for eyeglass and hearing aid donations,' said Kirsten Wyatt, assistant city manager. 'The city is pleased that the West Linn Lions are spearheading this effort, and supporting that effort with a proclamation was the least we could do to help spread the word about this collection drive.'

This is also the first year the club's efforts will directly benefit those in need in the local community.

Until now, the club has had to send its recycled eyeglasses and hearing aids outside of the country because Oregon law would have held it fully liable for any injuries that may have occurred.

With the passing of House Bill 2312, which was signed into law in June, however, Good Samaritan rules now apply, so, as long as the club does not act with gross negligence, it will not be held liable for unintentional injury, Akins said.

The recycled eyeglasses and hearing aids will be distributed to Oregon residents starting Jan. 1, and the need among the state's needy and homeless population couldn't be greater.

'Right now, Oregon as a state has the highest number of homeless percentage-wise as any state in the union,' Akins said.

With the downturn in the economy, people now have to concentrate on allocating their money toward a 'hierarchy of needs' - paying rent, putting food on the table and heating their homes during the winter months.

City council backs efforts with official proclamation

By CLAIRE OLIVER

Staff Reporter

Armed with an official proclamation by city council, the West Linn Lions' Club has made eyeglass and hearing aid collection the focus of its October efforts, hosting a donation drive throughout West Linn.

On Oct. 15 and Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Lions Club members will accept donations of used eyeglasses and hearing aids at stations set up outside West Linn's Safeway, Albertsons and Market of Choice. They've also set up collection boxes at bank branches throughout the city as well as the West Linn Public Library that will accept donations through the end of the month.

The used eyeglasses and hearing aids will then be reconditioned and distributed to those in need by the Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation.

While the West Linn Lions Club has held eyeglass and hearing aid donation drives in the past, Dick Akins - club member and co-committee chair organizing the drive - said this is the first time its hosted a citywide drive that's been backed by the West Linn City Council, and it's the first club to host a drive of this scale.

On Sept. 26, city council issued a proclamation deeming October Eyeglass and Hearing Aid Donation Month.

'In this economic climate, the city of West Linn is aware of the need for eyeglass and hearing aid donations,' said Kirsten Wyatt, assistant city manager. 'The city is pleased that the West Linn Lions are spearheading this effort, and supporting that effort with a proclamation was the least we could do to help spread the word about this collection drive.'

This is also the first year the club's efforts will directly benefit those in need in the local community.

Until now, the club has had to send its recycled eyeglasses and hearing aids outside of the country because Oregon law would have held it fully liable for any injuries that may have occurred.

With the passing of House Bill 2312, which was signed into law in June, however, Good Samaritan rules now apply, so, as long as the club does not act with gross negligence, it will not be held liable for unintentional injury, Akins said.

The recycled eyeglasses and hearing aids will be distributed to Oregon residents starting Jan. 1, and the need among the state's needy and homeless population couldn't be greater.

'Right now, Oregon as a state has the highest number of homeless percentage-wise as any state in the union,' Akins said.

With the downturn in the economy, people now have to concentrate on allocating their money toward a 'hierarchy of needs' - paying rent, putting food on the table and heating their homes during the winter months.

'(After that), funds that are available for eyeglasses and corrective hearing are basically nonexistent,' he said.

And, while Akins said West Linn isn't the first place that comes to mind when it comes to needing assistance of this kind, it's there.

He said about 35 to 40 West Linn residents came to a mobile screening event hosted by the club last month, and that was just through word-of-mouth advertising.

He also pointed to the club's annual children's coat drive, its Shoes for Kids Program and its support of the West Linn Food Pantry as other examples of need in the local community.

Akins said the club will accept eyeglasses and hearing aids in any condition.

'We'd rather take every one of them and determine whether they're recyclable or not,' he said. 'It's easier for us to determine that than the individual.'

The club held a collection day Oct. 1, and he said residents are appreciating the opportunity to recycle eyeglasses that have sat unused on their dressers for years and the opportunity to help.

'Here's how I see it,' Akins said. 'If you want to determine the actual need for eyeglasses for the poor, take yours off. If you can't see without them, now imagine that you can't afford to buy them - that's what motivates people.'

The West Linn Lions Club's collection days will be held between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. at Albertsons, located at 1855 Blankenship Road, Safeway, located at 22000 Salamo Road, and Market of Choice, located at 5639 Hood St. in West Linn's Central Village.

For more information about the West Linn Lions Club, visit www.lionwap.org/westlinnlionsorus.

For more information about the Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation, visit www.orlions.org.