St. Mark's UMC in Sacramento Takes on Eyeglasses Mission for Annual Conference Session; Hearing Aids Volunteer Still Needed

April 24, 2008

Sacramento's St. Mark's United Methodist Church has stepped up to take on the eyeglasses collection and distribution project. It has been a longstanding tradition that donated eye glasses and hearing aids – and, more recently, cell phones – are dropped off at Annual Conference Session to be given to organizations that get them into the hands of people who need them. In keeping with that tradition, the letter announcing this year's Conference invited those attending to "bring cell phones, hearing aids, and eye glasses in good repair to the Session."


However, the California-Nevada Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) Office – which is providing support to process the cell phones that are donated – informed Instant Connection that neither UMVIM nor the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has a program for distribution of the other items. The cell phones help fund the Western Jurisdiction UMVIM Office expenses (that is the office that helps Cal-Nevada UMVIM connect with national and international mission opportunities throughout The United Methodist Church), but other volunteers (individuals or organizations) were needed to take responsibility for collecting the eye glasses and hearing aids and getting them to an organization that can use them.


In response to an appeal in Instant Connection, John McCormack of the St. Mark's Ministry in Action (missions) Commission contacted Jim Munro with United Methodist Men – once involved in eyeglasses collection – who contacted a congregation member affiliated with Kiwanis International, asking if she would be interested in taking on the project this year. That member, Cathy Snow, readily agreed, and Munro communicated the good news to King.


A volunteer is still needed to take charge of the hearing aids donated at ACS and get them to an organization that can use them.


If you are a member of a group (perhaps a Sunday School class, UMW or United Methodist Men chapter, a service organization, or a team such as Medical Missionaries) that would be willing to oversee collection and distribution of the hearing aids – please contact UMVIM Director Sue King at (916) 374-1582,


In addition, King suggests that people donating glasses, hearing aids, and cell phones make a monetary donation toward the cost of shipment. Such costs can be high, she says, and may not be provided for in a budget; philanthropic groups often rely on donations to cover shipping expenses.