Senior collects eyeglasses for charity

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Olivia Lauter

Senior Braden Schlimme holds his box of donated eyeglasses that he has collected for Lions Clubs International. People around the community have donated used prescription glasses to his cause.

Senior Braden Schlimme made a Facebook post on Sept. 22 asking for people to donate their used eyeglasses. He collected more than 100 pairs in the following week.

“It’s nice to see the community join together for such a necessary cause,” Schlimme said. “Everybody was just so understanding and nice.”

Schlimme was inspired to start collecting when he received an eyeglass prescription a year ago after noticing he couldn’t read the board in class.

“I kind of put myself in the shoes of somebody who would be in a third world country and couldn’t see well,” Schlimme said. “You can imagine they can’t handle machinery, take care of their kids. Little kids can’t look at books to learn how to read. That’s when I put the pieces together, and I was like, ‘this is something I want to be a part of.’”

Schlimme started a year ago, buying glasses in bulk from eBay. He finally decided to make a post on the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Facebook page under his mom’s account, asking people to donate their used glasses.

“It was great,” Braden’s mom, Kim Schlimme said. “We have a really nice community, and it seems like whenever there’s a need, [people in the community] jump forward and respond. I didn’t know if they were going to do that for my son, but they did. They came forward. Everyone was asking how they could help.”

After collecting the glasses, Schlimme sends them off to Connecticut, where a family friend, Mary Nelson, brings them to the charity he’s partnered with: Lions Clubs International. This organization determines the prescription of the glasses they receive, and then sends them to organizations like Doctors Without Borders.

“This has been a long term project with about 40 kids participating,” Nelson said. “The quarantine has been in Braden’s favor for collecting glasses. I think people have been sitting around and are realizing they can donate some of the stuff they have laying around. It’s really made people more sensitive to other people’s needs.”

Schlimme plans to keep collecting and donating glasses. Currently, he is receiving them by phone at (310) 291-2171.

“I tend to be very ambitious with the goals I set,” Schlimme said. “So I was thinking, ‘if I can get 100 glasses from the community, that would be incredible,’ and we’ve surpassed that goal.  I’m just absolutely ecstatic with how many people have donated their glasses to such an important cause.”