The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

September 26, 2013

Lions benefit to aid visually impaired


TARBORO — An upcoming Pinetops Lions’ Club barbecue dinner will benefit the blind and visually impaired.

The benefit dinner will be held Oct. 4 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the club community house on South 9th Street in Pinetops, by the ballpark. The $7 dinner is eat-in or take-out and includes half barbecued chicken, potatoes, slaw and bread.

One such person who has benefited from Lions’ Club assistance is Belinda Williams, 50, of Pinetops.

The club helped pay for Williams to have cataract surgery at Vidant Edgecombe Hospital on Sept. 4.

“I was about legally blind in my left eye. I’ve got almost 20/20 vision in it now,” Williams said. “I’m able to see everything now very clearly and I can read now again.”

Williams went to the eye doctor in April and was told that she had cataracts in both eyes.

“I thought I needed glasses, but I didn’t think it (my eyesight) was going that quickly,” she said.

Williams’ eyesight deteriorated rapidly between April and September, but after the cataract surgery, her view of the world changed in a literal way.

“You notice the stuff that you didn’t notice before,” she said. “I could see shapes, but I couldn’t really see what was on the TV. Now, I can read what comes across the screen, even small print.”

Assistance from the Lions’ Club is based on need and the nature of the condition of the person requesting assistance.

“We’re geared toward blind, visually, impaired and needy,” said Richard Robertson, member of the Pinetops Lions’ Club. “The Lions’ Club is the largest public service organization in the world.”

The Lions’ Club has 1,400,000 members in 170 countries worldwide. The Pinetops Lions’ Club has 24 members, and hosts an annual Christmas party for the blind and visually impaired.

Other Lions’ Club missions/ projects in North Carolina include the following:

Providing free used eyeglasses to the visually impaired

Providing college education grants to the visually impaired, based on need

Sending the visually impaired to an annual weeklong retreat at Camp Dogwood on Lake Norman in western North Carolina

Providing an annual VIP fishing tournament at Nags Head for the visually impaired

Funding research to prevent blindness

Providing seeing eye dogs for the legally blind

Paying for cataract surgeries

Funding corneal transplants to improve vision

Providing professional glaucoma screenings for those in need

Maintaining a ballpark for community recreation

Visually impaired and blind individuals seeking Lions’ Club services should contact Kateaka McGee at 641-7614.