We Serve: On a mission
By Kris Leonhardt
Part VI and final segment in a series on the Marshfield Lions
The Marshfield Lions also host an ongoing eyeglass collection program. The eyeglasses are recycled through the Lions Rosholt camp and distributed by the Lions through mission trips.
“We used to go to Mexico with the eyeglasses,” Lion Ken Zittleman said.
From 2011-18, the club held eyeglass missions to Nicaragua. But, political issues drove the organization from the country.
In February 2020, the club took their first mission to Guatemala.
“We probably only use 4,000 pairs of glasses, but you need to have a variety, because you don’t know what kind of eyes (they have.) Especially, this last year; it was the first time to Guatemala, so we had to take both positive and negative glasses,” Lion Steve McCabe said.
“Come to find out that most of the people are near-sighted. So, that changed things.
“What’s interesting is that better than half the people we serve were Guatemalan Indians – Mayan Indians.”
“(The eyeglasses) don’t fit perfectly, but you match up the best you can,” Zittleman added.
“A lot of them just want to be able to read better. They want to be able to read the Bible, and the women want to be able to do their sewing and their handcrafts… It is so rewarding, when they would try them on, and they would be able to see. You can just see the joy in their faces.”
“Oh, the women bless you and the men shake your hand as though they were pumping water,” McCabe added.
“When we went to Guatemala, we were told ‘Well. We might have 250 people that day.’ We get there, and for almost three blocks, it is about three or four people wide waiting.
“Some of the people we asked, ‘When did you come?’ They came the night before. Most of these people never had a chance to buy glasses. When it’s glasses or food, what are you going to do?”
Collection sites may be found throughout the community, including the Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library.
For more information on the Lions Club membership, contact Tom Ptak at 715-387-9187 or [email protected] or Sue Cherney at 715-384-8750 or [email protected]