By Mary Agnoli
This year, the world has been rocked by earthquakes in places such as Haiti, Chile, Turkey and Taiwan. Due to the high degree of international media attention focused on these countries, some other nations in need may have found a decrease in their regular support.
However, the members of the Belize Medical Mission based in Arlington Heights, Ill., and Christ the King Parish in Moline, Ill., did not forget their promise to the poor villages of Belize.
During the 2010 Viatorian mission trip to Belize, the group provided medical attention to more than 1,200 villagers who would otherwise have gone without. Care ranged from the distribution of common pharmaceuticals to the treatment of upper respiratory diseases and diabetes.
According to the mission group, one item that always seemed to be in short supply was eyeglasses. A great need exists for prescription, reading, and even sunglasses among children and adults.
Jamie Blaser, a junior at Assumption High School in Davenport, had the opportunity to join her father, Dr. Mark Blaser, and five other medical professionals on their 2009 mission trip. Upon returning she shared her experiences with classmates, Christine Harb and myself.
When Dan Huber, spiritual director at Assumption, announced to his religion classes that they would be putting together a service project, these three students came to a quick conclusion. They decided to help provide eyeglasses to the poor of Belize, and the program “Bringing Belize a Clear Future” was born. The idea behind this project is simple: when people buy new eyeglasses (whether due to a change in prescription or style), they often don’t know what to do with their old eyeglasses. They now have a simple solution.
During April, Blaser, Harb and I will be collecting used eyeglasses throughout the Diocese of Davenport in hopes of donating at least 100 pairs to the Belize Medical Mission trip scheduled for 2011. Please help “Bringing Belize a Clear Future” by donating to the cause.
How can I donate if I live in Davenport or Bettendorf? Collection boxes will be set up at Assumption High School and most of the Davenport-area Catholic churches. Donations will also be received at diocesan headquarters, 2706 N. Gaines St., Davenport, Iowa, 52804-1998.
If I live in the western end of the diocese, how can I donate? Oftentimes someone from your parish will visit the chancery. Please check with your local parish and see if you can coordinate sending your donation with the next visitor.
What types of eyeglasses can I donate? Any! Reading glasses, prescription glasses, and even sunglasses are greatly needed. However, reading glasses are often the most needed.
(Mary Agnoli is a junior at Assumption High School in Davenport.)