With the launch of the Paul Carlson Partnership's Eyeglasses for Congo
program, you can give the gift of sight to someone who needs it. Most of us have ready access to glasses or contact lenses when we need them. Whether we see an eye doctor every year or pick up reading glasses where we shop, we can get help for our eyesight.
Not so in Congo. Most families in the Ubangi region where we work are subsistence farmers, with annual incomes of $50 or less. Often they can't even buy medicine, much less pay for glasses. Dr. Roger Thorpe, one of our medical advisors and our partner in this program, talks about people he saw during his years in Congo. Some had worked hard to learn to read, and when their eyes changed and they could no longer make out the print, it was a deep loss. When Roger was able to provide a pair of donated glasses that corrected their vision, they were happier than we will ever understand to be able to read again.
Now the PCP has joined together with Dr. Thorpe to respond to this need. Roger has been doing this quietly, on his own, for more than a decade. Several months ago we approached him about working together, making this a Paul Carlson program, and he agreed. We even found another volunteer, a Paul Carlson Medical Ambassador
, who is taking on some of the work of checking the lenses.
Individuals, churches, and other groups can all get involved. Two churches have helped us kick off the program. The Rochester (MN) Covenant Church collected glasses in connection with their missions fair, gathering over 150 pair! Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago launched their program in September. They received 28 pair on the opening Sunday, and they continue taking glasses at the Missions table on Sundays on an ongoing basis.
For churches and other groups, we have a kit to help you out: a poster, a page with guidelines, and a few other items. Just email us at pcpinfo
at paulcarlson.org or call the office at 773-907-3370. If you simply want to send in the unused glasses that are lying in the back of your bureau drawer, great! Send them to the Paul Carlson Partnership, 8303 W. Higgins Rd., Chicago, IL 60631.
With eyeglasses you can make a difference in someone's life even if you can't give money.
Think about it.
SAJ 1 Nov 2012