St. Joseph County has a rich history of thoughtful and generous people who are ready and willing to help their neighbors when needed. Some events, like the Relay for Life, are huge activities that involve many individuals and aim for very big outcomes. Other programs are sponsored by much smaller groups of people but that doesn’t diminish the value they bring to our community. This week I’d like to introduce you to a couple of the smaller programs that you might not have heard about.
For the past nine years, the Three Rivers Eagles have sponsored a program they call “Stepping into School with New Shoes.” Through this project, they provide new shoes to Three Rivers area kids from Head Start through middle school. Everybody loves getting new shoes and the Eagles believe that this project helps kids start the school year feeling good about themselves. Their goal for this year is to buy shoes for 300 kids. The Eagles works closely with the schools and the Department of Human Services to identify the children who are most in need. The children meet with the Eagles members at Wal-Mart to be sure that they get a pair of shoes that fit well and make them happy.
The Three Rivers Eagles would be happy to have your support for this project. They estimate that each pair of shoes will cost about $20. Donations can be sent to the Three Rivers Eagles #2303 at 715 E. Hoffman St., Three Rivers, MI 49093. Please write “shoe project” on the memo line of your check. If you have any questions you may call Vern Rintz at 269-279-781 or Larry Price at 269-585-3318.
For those of you who wear glasses, I have a question. Do you have a drawer in your house where all your old pairs of glasses are languishing? Did you know that your local Lions Club can help to get those old glasses of yours cleaned up and given to people in other countries who need glasses? There are collection boxes all over the county where you can drop off your old glasses…even the broken ones. They are then cleaned and sorted and re-configured into usable glasses. Groups of Lions Club members then travel to third-world countries where they give eye exams and provide glasses to individuals, some of whom have never been able to see clearly before.
If you have glasses to donate to the Lions Club you can give them to any Lions Club member or take them to any of the following places:
Sturgis – FirstMerit Bank, Sturgis Bank & Trust, Key Bank, or any vision provider
Three Rivers – Lowry’s Books, City Hall, Fred’s Pharmacy, or Commission on Aging office
Centreville – Nottawa Township Library, Sturgis Bank & Trust, Southern Michigan Bank & Trust, or FirstMerit Bank
Colon – Hardings Market, FirstMerit Bank, or Sturgis Bank & Trust
Mendon – Southern Michigan Bank & Trust
Other programs in St. Joseph County that are looking for volunteers and would like to be included in this weekly column are encouraged to register with United Way. Contact Margaret Shultz, Volunteer Services Specialist, at 269-467-9099 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.