Lions Clubs have been collecting and sorting used spectacles since 1980. It all began with specs collected by the Chichester Lions with an initial delivery of 700 sorted specs to the Missionary Optical Society in Devon for use in their clinics in Kenya and India. Other Lions Clubs started feeding their collections to Chichester and over the next four years some 50,000 specs were sent to M.O.S. in Devon.
In 1985 they linked up with the Le Havre Lions and Medico France and over the following five years some 100,000 specs, 43,000 lenses, and 10,000 frames were sent to Medico France while still delivering to M.O.S. as many pairs of sorted specs as they needed. In 1988, another outlet was established through Vision Aid Overseas, and in 1990 Boots the Chemist and Help The Aged joined us in a national campaign which produced 460,000 pairs of specs in six months.
Once sorted they went to places such as Cameroon, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Sri Lanka, India, Zanzibar, Jamaica, Bolivia and Brazil. All that took more resources than the Club could sensibly provide.