Old holiday lights put twinkle in eyes of less fortunate

Lions recycle lights, help others hear, see
Staff Report

    Discarding old holiday lights the right way could mean that someone who can’t afford to purchase eyeglasses or hearing aids can get help to obtain those necessities.
    The Wilmington Lions Club, which sets up the Island Christmas Walk in the North Island Park, replaces a few sets of lights every year — they’re either switching to more energy-efficient LED light strings, or the old sets just don’t work.
    The strings of lights being retired from the display are recycled through the Lions Club district, which receives money for each pound turned in. The district then uses those funds to help Lions Clubs with few resources to give the gifts of sight and sound in the form of prescription eyeglasses and hearing aides to their residents.
    String-light recycling is a year-round project, says Lion John Persic Jr., and one the community is welcome to participate in.
    Lights can be left in the bin at the concession stand at the North Island Park until the Christmas Walk display is dismantled. After that, the bin can be found at the Lions Club Hall in the 800 block of River Street. Lights in bags can also be left on the hall’s front porch, as long as the door is not blocked. Persic will also pick lights up, just call him at 815-210-5155 to schedule pick up if you’re unable to drop them off at the hall.
    A district representative picks the lights up when the local Lions get enough to make the trip worthwhile.
    The Wilmington Lions Club is an active, resourceful group, and is usually able to purchase three to four sets of hearing aids and about 30 pairs of glasses each year, including the doctor’s exams. Each eyeglass recipient receives two pairs, Persic said. He can provide additional information about the vision and hearing care program.