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LENSCRAFTERS AND LIONS CLUBS COLLECT 784,106 PAIRS OF USED GLASSES FOR NEEDY IN 1992 DRIVE

 CINCINNATI, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- A total of 784,106 pairs of used eyeglasses were collected through GIVE THE GIFT OF SIGHT, an annual eyeglasses collection and recycling program sponsored by LensCrafters and Lions Clubs International. Donations have grown from 6,000 in 1988.
 More than 40 celebrities have donated their glasses to the program. This year's donors include Barbara Bush, Chelsea Clinton, Julia Roberts, Elizabeth Taylor, Whoopi Goldberg and Hammer among others.
 Additionally, players and managers from major league baseball, including Atlanta Braves' manager Bobby Cox, Cincinnati Reds' third baseman Chris Sabo and Denver Rockies' manager Don Baylor, pitched in by making local appearances in their home team towns to trade autographs for donations of used glasses.
 The GIVE THE GIFT OF SIGHT drive takes place between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day at 460 LensCrafters stores in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. The donated glasses are cleaned, repaired, classified by prescription, then distributed in developing countries where access to eyecare is severely limited.
 Each LensCrafters store works with its local Lions Club and other community groups to encourage donations to the program. This year, the LensCrafters store in Houston (Memorial City Mall) collected a record 50,098 pairs of used glasses in partnership with Lions clubs.
 "We'd like to thank the many people who helped make this program such a great success," said Dave Browne, LensCrafters' president and CEO. The donated glasses will help so many people see clearly, some for the first time."
 Thousands of the donations will be distributed on a LensCrafters/Lions optical mission which travels to a developing country each spring. Past missions have provided eyecare to thousands of needy people in Panama and Costa Rica.
 This year, free eye exams and eyeglasses will be delivered to the needy in Nairobi, Kenya. The mission team's transportation to Kenya will be provided by Air Miles, a frequent buyer program in which members can earn free air travel.
 Donated eyeglasses are distributed in developing countries because legal constraints generally prohibit dispensing used eyegs?es in the U.S. However, LensCrafters and Lions also provide thousands of eye exams and new eyeglasses to those in need in the U.S. each year.
 LensCrafters, a division of U.S. Shoe Corp., is the world's leading optical retailer.
 Lions Clubs International, the world's largest service club organization, has 1.4 million members in 177 counties. Since 1925, when Helen Keller challenged the Lions to be "knights of the blind," their primary focus has been helping the visually impaired.
 -0- 1/28/93
 /CONTACT: Courtney Thompson, 312-329-7586, for Give the Gift of Sight program/


CO: LensCrafters; Lions Clubs International ST: IN: SU:

SM -- NY087 -- 0412 01/28/93 15:49 EST
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Date:Jan 28, 1993
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