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‘Knights of the blind’

Creston Creston Lions Club raises money to aid the blind and promote vision health

Lions Club members Jeff LaBarge and Ginny Kufuhs look on as Dave Huff takes a picture of a student’s eyes during a vision screening at Nodaway Valley Elementary School. The vision screening is part of the KidsSight vision screening are part of what the Lions Club provides to the community as part of its mission to promote vision health.
Lions Club members Jeff LaBarge and Ginny Kufuhs look on as Dave Huff takes a picture of a student’s eyes during a vision screening at Nodaway Valley Elementary School. The vision screening is part of the KidsSight vision screening are part of what the Lions Club provides to the community as part of its mission to promote vision health.

Lions will be on the streets of Creston this Saturday. Mayor Steve Wintermute has declared it “Lions Candy Day.”

The Lions Club raises money to support its mission of empowering volunteers in many ways. One fundraising effort is the annual candy sale during Balloon Days.

Creston Lions Club members will be stationed at the intersections of Townline and Cherry streets, Adams and Jarvis streets, and South Elm and Clark streets 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday morning asking for donations in exchange for mints from those who drive by.

Lions Club member Roger Turk spoke of how the Lions Club uses these funds.

“It’s part of our fundraiser to provide glasses for needy children and people and all the things that we do,” Turk said.

An international mission, Lions Club’s 1.4 million members serve in more than 200 countries, striving to improve their own communities and the world.

Since 1917, Lion volunteers have contributed to projects as small as teaching middle schoolers in Montana to grow their own vegetables in an effort to reduce rates of diabetes and building sidewalks in Diagonal so children can walk to school safely to making a $400,000 contribution towards genetic research at UC San Diego Shiley Eye Institute’s BioBank — now renamed the Downtown San Diego Lions Club BioBank for Vision.

Vision health and services for the blind have been a focus for the Lions Club since 1925 when Helen Keller challenged them to become “knights of the blind in a crusade against darkness.”

Proceeds from this sale will benefit the Lions Club’s efforts to help the blind.

Locally, the Lions Club has held vision screenings for preschoolers provide eye exams and glasses for those in need.

The Lions bought a machine that takes pictures of children’s eyes from 6 months to 6 years old. The pictures are sent to Iowa City where they are evaluated. The parents of the children are then contacted to let them know if their child needs further examination. The machine cost around $10,000, Turk said, which is still being paid for.

The screenings are free to families. The Lions Club provides more than 400 screenings each year, traveling to schools and preschools in the area.

Lions Club member Jo Duckworth explained that early intervention is key to vision health.

“Catching a child’s vision issues early by far pays off in the long run,” Duckworth said. “There’s a lot of need in this community ... unfortunately we have only so many dollars. If we could expand that budget we could certainly help more of those folks that are in need.”

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