Aspengrove School students Sean Krawchuk, left, and Jack Smart are looking for community donations of used eyeglasses for the Third World Eye Care Society, a charity helping to distribute glasses to people in developing countries. TAMARA CUNNINGHAM/News Bulletin

Nanaimo students seek used eyeglasses for charity

Third World Eye Care Society gives eyeglasses, exams to people in developing countries

Two Nanaimo students have their sights set on giving old eyeglasses a new purpose.

Aspengrove School students Jack Smart and Sean Krawchuk are collecting old, used eyeglasses for the Third World Eye Care Society, a charity that brings eye exams and glasses to people in developing countries.

The effort was sparked by Grade 12 students last spring as part of an international baccalaureate program.

They’ve collected 75 pairs of glasses so far with help from local optometrists and ophthalmologists and are now reaching out for donations from the broader community.

“It’s great because these glasses are just things that lie around the house, in an old drawer somewhere, that’s pretty much useless to us but the impact they have on the people that they’re going to is pretty profound. Sight is so important,” said Smart.

Krawchuk likes how the charity, also known as TWECS, is helping people in the community and people in the third world who don’t have the opportunity or resources to buy glasses themselves, and he called the experience of collecting glasses an “eye opener.” He didn’t know there was something like this until researching it, he said.

TWECS, based on the Lower Mainland, sends teams to developing countries where it provides basic eye care and recycled eye glasses, according to the charity’s website, which says that with support from volunteers, the optical industry and groups like Lions Club International it’s provided restored vision to more than 80,000 underprivileged people in the third world. Its warehouse for eyeglasses is at the Burnaby-Lougheed Lions Club, where Smart and Krawchuk hope to volunteer this year.

The students will be at Rutherford McDonald’s on Monday, Nov. 13, from 10 a.m.-noon to collect eyeglasses and share information about TWECS. The students are looking for complete sets of frames and lenses that are not badly scratched or broken. They are not collecting progressive lenses, bifocal lenses or cases.

An eyeglass collection box will remain at McDonald’s on Rutherford Road. There are also boxes at Real Canadian Superstore’s optical department and at Dr. Rob Piemontesi Ophthalmology at 1651 Boundary Ave.



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