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December 29, 2005

State of Illinois Gives the Gift of Improved Vision this Holiday Season by Donating Record Number of Eyeglasses to the Lions of Illinois
Illinoisans urged to donate their unneeded glasses to charity

SPRINGFIELD – In keeping with the holiday season, the State of Illinois today gave the gift of improved vision to hundreds of people through the donation of 815 pairs of eyeglasses to the Lions of Illinois, the well-known organization that refurbishes and reallocates prescription lenses to those in need around the world.  Found at airports throughout the state and left unclaimed, the glasses make their way back to functional use through the Surplus Property Program that is administered by the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS).  CMS Acting Director Paul Campbell made the presentation today to leadership of the Lions of Illinois at the State’s Surplus Property Warehouse in Springfield.

“Hundreds of people will receive the priceless gift of clearer vision this holiday season,” Gov. Blagojevich said.  “Through this donation, many adults and children who can’t afford glasses will be matched with prescription lenses to improve their vision and perhaps their quality of life.”

“This record breaking donation will ultimately help those who are visually impaired around the world to better see the world around us.  I can’t imagine a better gift than the gift of better sight this Christmas,” said James Weiss, District Governor 1-L of the Lions of Illinois.

Each year, Lions and other volunteers collect used eyeglasses for donation to Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers, where the glasses are cleaned, repaired, classified by prescription and distributed to people in need.  Residents throughout Illinois are encouraged to donate their used prescription glasses to one of the hundreds of local Lions of Illinois chapters.  Illinoisans can also learn how and where to donate by visiting www.lionsclubs.org or by calling

“Gov. Blagojevich has been clear in his directive to use the surplus property program to not only bring new revenue to the state, but to improve the lives of people.  This donation will help more than eight hundred people to see our world more clearly,” CMS Acting Director Paul Campbell said.

Left uncorrected, poor eyesight often leads to problems in children’s ability to learn at school, and also can reduce their opportunities for employment as adults, Campbell also noted. 

Eyeglasses and other unclaimed property such as umbrellas, clothing, electronics, and additional personal items is collected at Illinois airports and released by the General Services Administration (GSA) to CMS, which runs the state’s federal surplus program.  Federal surplus property is first available to local governments, school districts, non-profit educational and public health activities and is used in accordance with GSA policies to aid education or public health directly or through research.  Items are later sold through public auctions or Illinois’ innovative I-Bid online auction service, www.ibid.illinois.gov, and sometimes donated.


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