Hancock County, Tennessee, where our longtime partner, Of One Accord, operates, is the state’s lowest-income county where some one-third of its residents are unemployed, according to its executive director, Sheldon Livesay.
Life is hard for families struggling just to put food on the table, keep a roof over their heads and their utilities on, and something like a pair of prescription eyeglasses is simply an unaffordable “luxury.”
“The average monthly household income of the people we serve in Hancock County is a mere $600, meaning eyeglasses become the luxury people just can’t afford,” Sheldon tells us. “Eyeglasses are considered an extravagance.”
And going without clear vision causes significant added burdens on households.
“Not only does it add to the difficulty of finding work they can do, but they are unable to safely read labels, prescriptions, and do simple things like safely driving a car.”
“In partnership with a local optometrist, and through the partnership with Americans Helping Americans®, we have been able to provide nearly 70 pairs of eyeglasses a year,” says Sheldon.
Through these partnerships, Of One Accord selects those most in need of a pair of prescription eyeglasses in the community, the optometrist provides pro bono eye exams, and, thanks to the supporters of Americans Helping Americans®, we are able to provide the grant funding to purchase the dozens of pairs of either single vision or bifocal lens eyeglasses.
Sheldon also pointed out that without the program, many elderly residents of the county would have to go without the glasses they need as “This is the ONLY program in Hancock County providing free eyeglasses to residents.”
In December, the beneficiaries had their eye examinations, and we are pleased to report that on January 16 they all received their new pairs of glasses and were thrilled with their new gift of clear vision.
“Each recipient expressed how grateful they were,” reported Sheldon. “I pass that on to the great work done by Americans Helping Americans® and their supporters from all around the country.
“We want to say Thank You! to Americans Helping Americans® for your longtime partnership.
“These have been amazing efforts!”