The signature cause for Lions Clubs International is vision.  In 1925 Helen Keller challenged the Lions attending one of their first International conferences, to become “Knights of the Blind in this crusade against darkness.” Not only did the Lions accept the challenge, but we have spent the decades since expanding that goal; helping combat river blindness; promoting vision care and screenings for common eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy; and implementing Lions KidSight USA to screen children’s vision, catching early correctable vision issues that can affect learning.

One project the Santa Monica – Pacific Palisades Lions Club has been able to continue throughout most of the pandemic is our used eyeglass and hearing aid collection. This past year we collected almost 1500 eyeglasses. Lion Alan Parr then delivered them to a refurbishment site near Banning. At the site they are sorted, cleaned, frames repaired, and screws tightened. The lenses are then classified according to prescription strength and sorted for distribution.

While many glasses in Southern California go to Mexico and Central America, some remain in Southern California for those that need them in our own communities. SMPP Lions have distributed eyeglasses for free during our Lions Eyes Across California eye screenings that took place every March prior to the pandemic. We are hoping to resume these events, that also include diabetes screenings, by next year.

How would you like to give the gift of sight? By checking drawers and closets you might be surprised what you find.  Any used eyeglasses, readers, sunglasses, or hearing aids are the perfect thing to donate at one of our many collection locations across Santa Monica and in Pacific Palisades:

Elander Eye Medical Group, 242 – 26th Street, SM  (310) 393-0624

Alpha Graphics, 2717 Wilshire Bl., SM  (310) 453-7559

i-Care Optical, 11744 W Pico Bl., SM  (310) 478-9771

Providence St. John’s, 2121 Santa Monica Bl. – Cafeteria, SM  (310) 829-5511

Santa Monica Eye Associates, 1908 Santa Monica Bl. #3, SM  (310) 829-5475

Dr. Mark Sawusch, 910 Via de la Paz #208, PP  (310) 454-5521  

YMCA, 1332 Sixth St., SM  (310) 393-2721

Your donations today not only restore senses we all take for granted, but also help the environment – recycle, reuse, repurpose!

If you are looking for other opportunities to give back to your community, or connect with others, think about becoming a SMPP Lion. In addition to our service projects, we have dinner meetings the second Wednesday of each month with a featured speaker. Meetings are at 6 pm at the Elks Lodge on Pico Bl., with free parking. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Yoriko Fisher, at or Kingsley Fife at (310) 454-2960.