The Greater Pine Island Lions has a number of drop box collection sites around the islands for items that are put to good use.
* ALL OCCASION GREETING CARDS (new or used - including special relatives, mom, dad, grandson, etc.) and holiday cards (Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day, Graduation, etc.)
These are provided to: Lighthouse of SW Florida, 35 W. Mariana Avenue, North Fort Myers, FL 33903, formerly Visually Impaired Persons.
They cut the pictures off and glue them to their own cards with their name, address, etc., on the back. They also add pictures to the inside with words appropriate from other cards
They add new envelopes and sell for a small amount in their facility. This money helps the volunteers who are there for rehab. Bundles of these cards go out to servicemen and women at various locations stateside and worldwide so they will have free cards to mail "home."
* STAMPS, new or used. These are used as rehab in veteran hospitals. The patients cut the stamps into "small tiles" and use them to construct art work/pictures which they sell in the hospitals for spending money, or use as gifts for their friends and relatives.
* REGULAR GLASSES & SUNGLASSES (readers are also accepted). These are shipped to the Lions' facility in northern Florida where they are cleaned, repaired, and sorted. Many are redistributed right here in Florida or sent to other states, countries to be distributed by Lions or missionaries.
* HEARING AIDS: If these are fairly new, they might be redistributed right here. Otherwise they go to another group in Lions who refurbish them and then they are reissued to those in need, who cannot afford to buy them.
* CELL PHONES: These too are refurbished and reissued to those in need: domestic violence victims, older people who cannot afford the cell phones and need them to carry with them in case they fall.
The GPI Lions Club provides free eye exams and glasses to residents of Greater Pine Island who cannot afford them. If the eye exam finds other problems, the club works with the opthamologist to get the price lowered so we can afford whatever is needed to correct the problems. Last year there were two women who had bleeding retinas and, of course, did not know it until the eyes were examined. Those corrections were made by the eye doctor at no cost to the women or to the GPI Lions Club. Other surgeries such as cataracts are also provided working with the doctor and with the help of the Lions Eye Foundation (to which Lions' Clubs donate money annually). The GPI Club provided 6 surgeries last year
Hearing aids are also provided. These are issued through Starkey Foundation and we work with Leonardi on North 41. They graciously donate their time and provide the ear molds, etc. needed before ordering the proper hearing aid from Starkey, once the application is approved.
The club also donates to numerous organizations on the Island: FISH (because of all that they do to help our residents, but also the help they give to our clients who do not have transportation to get to Edison Mall where we send those who need eye exams and glasses. The club works with Dr. Sanchez and Lens Crafters and they can provide the care they need and get the glasses for them the same day (unless there are unusual needs for the glasses), The Food Pantry, Museum of the Island, Pine Island Elementary, Scout and Cub Scout Troops 20 of GPI. The club also sponsors a Little League Baseball Team, Thunder and provides them with a pizza party near the end of season for both teams, managers, moms and anyone attending the game, other donations are made upon request and with review.
Each Lion Club is responsible for raising its own funds in order to provide services to local residents who cannot afford them. The GPI club's annual fund-raiser is the "Greater Pine Island 4th Annual Raffle/Auction. It is held a the St. James Civic Center Feb. 16, from 6-11 p.m. $50 ticket includes buffet of peel and eat fresh Florida shrimp, Hawaiian meatballs, chicken wings (many dressings), many side dishes, desserts and coffee & water. That ticket also entitles the holder to a chance to win $1,000 1st prize (drawn last), $500 2nd prize, and 3rd & 4th prizes of $100 each. A live auction will be held throughout the evening. This year, by request, a silent auction of items will also be held. If the silent auction items are not all sold, they will be auctioned at the end by the live auctioneer. Get your tickets soon only 100 will be offered. They are available now, call 239-283-9761
The club has drop boxes at: Beacon of H.O.P.E., Family Hair Salon (Winn-Dixie Plaza), Community Church, Stonegate Bank, Fishers of Men Lutheran Church, VFW, Library, Matlacha Post Office, SPA 33 in Matlacha and now, hopefully, Pine Island Cove.