BROCKTON- Ruth Anderson started an eyeglass donation program at the church after seeing a television documentary on the difficulties people have accessing eye care throughout the world.
Anderson, a deacon at Messiah Baptist Church, started the “Eyeglass Ministry Program” around 1978 at Messiah Baptist Church in Brockton.
She decided to leave a donation box in the church for people drop off eyeglasses and sunglasses.
Over the years, the program has been very successful and the contributions have been abundant.
One time a member of the church brought in a bag filled with glasses.
“I was very excited because it was not s plastic bag, it was a big paper grocery bag full of sunglasses and eyeglasses. Some of them were so nice and I was so excited about that,” she said.
Anderson brings the donated glasses to LensCrafters, a company that works with “OneSight” to help people throughout the world with vision care. OneSight is an organization that brings vision care to people worldwide by getting professionals to places where people are in need.
According to the OneSight website, one out of seven people worldwide do not have access to eye exams or glasses. With vision centers, vision care clinics, and eye care professionals. OneSight hopes to provide access to 20 million people by 2020.
Anderson said the church has been very supportive with the eyeglass program. So many people have heard about the project. At the church donations keep coming in with little promotion.
Anderson said the eyeglass donation project is part of her overall philosophy of helping people. “I have always helped people, especially older people. When I was a kid I grew up learning how to help and I was always willing to help,” Anderson said.
She remembers one time in 2005 when she was at a deacon’s convention with people from all different states. She left a box filled with donated eyeglasses.
The donations also helped one person in a pinch at the convention, she said.
A pastor told her a woman at the convention borrowed a pair of the donated glasses for the day and had this to say: “I am so glad glasses were there because I left my glasses at home and now I can use a pair of these so I do not have to walk around squinting all day,” Anderson recalled.
The woman returned the glasses to the donation box at the end of the convention.