A Scappoose High School teen recently donated nearly 400 pairs of prescription eyeglasses and more than 20 hearing aids to the Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation.
Chase Hill, an incoming senior at Scappoose High School, made the donation last week as the culmination of his Eagle Scout Leadership project, which took him almost a year to complete.
The Scappoose teen was inspired last year to pursue the project after he learned about the Lions Club International group and its foundation through a poster hanging up at the Scappoose Senior Center, where he was volunteering.
Shortly afterward, Hill said he noticed that his grandma had many unused glasses lying around the house, which inspired him to take on the project.
During the past year, Hill set up donation boxes in all of the Scappoose School District school buildings and at his local church. In total, Hill collected 395 pairs of glasses and 24 hearing aids. His aunt in California also began a collection on his behalf and collected an additional 264 glasses.
When Hill began his project, he hosted a dinner with other members of his Boy Scout Troop 342, who were asked to make sandwiches completely blindfolded. With a mixture of typical ingredients like peanut butter and jelly mixed amongst things like hot sauce, the experiment was meant to simulate what it's like to be blind and still complete everyday tasks.
The Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation is a partner agency of the Lions Club that provides eye exams, eyeglasses, hearing exams and hearing aids to low-income people across the state and in countries around the world. The foundation partners with other volunteer organizations to provide international services to those in need.
Coppi Nikula, an office coordinator with the foundation, said the donation will make a difference for hundreds of people who will now be able to see. Donated glasses go through a process where they are cleaned, calibrated and sorted by women at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville who have been trained in the process. Glasses are then packaged and sent to countries around the world with volunteers serving on missions trips, Nikula explained.
Last week, Hill and his grandma, Louise, dropped off the collected items much to the delight and excitement of foundation office staff.
"It was pretty amazing what this young man accomplished," Nikula said. "We were so excited when he and his grandma, Mrs. Hill, a long-time Scappoose teacher and now substitute teacher, came in with a ton of bags and boxes of glasses."
Hill said the most rewarding part of the project was not only giving back, but knowing that his work would be helping hundreds of people around the world.