Organizations and business working to get mobile glasses unit for kids in need

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - A few organizations across the Magic Valley are teaming up to help kids in need, to see better.

The United Way of South Central Idaho, The Lions Club and Family Health Services are planning on putting together a mobile unit to help children get glasses.

Bill Maikranz, the chief executive officer with United Way, said the idea stemmed for their organizations Community School Strategy.

"We meet and we talk about different barriers that children or families that the cities are facing," he explained.

They saw a need that some children were not able to get their glasses or get assistance in getting them.

The mobile unit will be able to go around to the 11 counties the United Way serves.

"In a way, how simple it is, we want to give a child a pair of glasses so they can flourish, so they can read and they can be successful and that's all that it may take," Maikranz said.

Family Health Services will be assisting in operating the unit.

"We were asked to partner and if it was something within our ability and mission to do, so we’re pretty excited," said Aaron Houston, chief executive officer of Family Health Services. "Because, we see that we can just bring the mobile unit to a school and the child can come out, get the screening, get the testing and get the glasses made right there. It will be free to the children and by the end of the day, they have two pairs of glasses and it’s such a simple fix to the children. It’s not a disease, it’s a child learning how to read to do math, now we can give them the ability to do better."

The Idaho Lion's executive director Jay Lugo said they have been dedicated to sight since Helen Keller asked the Lions Club to be knights of the blind more than 70 years ago.

"The Idaho Lions have operated a sight and hearing foundation in Idaho for 50 years. Our mission is to make an impact in our community by providing sight and hearing services to those afflicted with blindness and deafness," Lugo said in a statement. "This is a simple fit for us. As executive director I see the need for sight services daily throughout our state. So many are going without eye exams and, or eyeglasses."

The United Way is trying to do a capital campaign, wanting to raise about $150,000 to get this mobile glass unit to get going.

"It’s a community project and it’s the strategy, is that we work together to do this. It’s not any one organization or entity. We want to make generational impact and we all got to do it together," Maikranz said.

He said the money is to help purchase the unit and keep it operational.

As soon as they get that, they will be on the road.

If you're interested in donating, contact the United Way of South Central Idaho at 208-733-4922.

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