Toni Zibert | Baxter Springs
In 1917, Lions Club founder Melvin Jones uttered the words, “What if these men, who are successful because of their drive, intelligence and ambition, were to put their talents to work to improve their communities?”
Today, the Lions Club of Baxter Springs continues to work towards this single goal in hopes of improving their community little by little. Working alongside the KU Medical Center’s Lion Club, efforts are being made towards new sight programs and vision screenings, along with camps for the blind or vision impaired and an eyeglass recycling program for those in need. Lions across the state of Kansas will ultimately recycle over 100,000 pairs of glasses, with hundreds of glasses and vision exams purchased for citizens within their community.
Past president Barry Palmer said this of the Lions being involved in these service projects, “We continue to fight preventable blindness, including from diseases like trachoma and river blindness, and we continue in our commitment to our partners in fighting measles, among many other humanitarian projects.”
Just last year, LCIF – short for Lions Club International Foundation raised $35.7 million in order to help fund humanitarian needs worldwide. With this, the Lions have been involved in service projects more than ever before.
The Baxter Springs chapter strongly support International and Statewide vision projects – like the Heartland Lions Eye Bank – and have begun to collect and recycle used eyeglasses, while also providing vision screenings.
Through Saving Sight, a Lions Partner Organization, the Lions will have an informational booth at the Kansas State Fair and a Kansas City Open House in September featuring the club’s new eye banking lab. With this said, the lab will help Saving Sight provide corneal tissue for transplant recipients in Kansas. Without the support of the Kansas Lions, none of the 358 recipients would have regained their sight.
Kansas Cornea Transplant Stats
In Fiscal Year 2013-2014, Saving Sight provided corneal tissue for 358 cornea transplant recipients in Kansas. This was for another record-breaking year for Saving Sight in Kansas, exceeding our previous 3-year average by 9 transplants. Thanks to the Kansas Lions’ support, 358 Kansans regained their vision through the gift of sight. Learn more about cornea donation and transplantation at www.saving-sight.org/cornea-donation.