Northern Virginia Eyeglass Recycling Center

Donate Eyeglasses

We need to constantly replenish our supply of used eyeglasses. Because of scratched lenses, only one in three pair of donated eyeglasses can be recycled. There is a great demand for children's eyeglasses..

You can donate eyeglasses by depositing them in a Lions Club collection box, mailing them to the Center, or dropping them off at the Center. Send hearing aids, too. We pass them on to the Lions Hearing Aid Bank Foundation which recycles them.One Pair at a Time

Ship or mail your donation. If shipping by UPS or FedEx, please indicate a "shipper’s release," that is, instructions to UPS or FedEx to deliver the package without requiring s signature.

Donations can be dropped-off at any hour. Our normal working hours are from 8 A.M. to 4 P.M. Tuesday - Saturday. Ring the bell at the door on the lower level near the loading dock and dumpsters. If no one is at the Center, leave the glasses in the box at the door or in the storage shed on the loading dock. Please put a note in your donation identifying the donor.

Your donation is tax deductible. One hundred percent of all donations go to operating cost. Our tax I.D. Number is 81-303517. If you desire a tax receipt, leave a note with the eyeglasses containing your name, address and telephone number. We appreciate each donation we receive and thank all of you who have supported this project.

Request Eyeglasses

To obtain recycled eyeglasses from the Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center of Northern Virginia, complete an Eyeglass Request Form. Complete the form in its entirety, then mail, e-mail, or Fax it to the Center at the numbers and addresses shown on the form. If you need assistance completing the form, the Center staff is available to assist you.

Download or print the Eyeglass Request Form which is Adobe Acrobat or (pdf) format. The Center requests allowing it 8-10 weeks to fill your request. Our ability to fill the request depends the lead-time that the applicant gives the Center gather the eyeglasses.

There is no charge for eyeglasses However, the requestor must assure the Center that the glasses will be given free to needy people. They must provide shipping instructions, pay for shipping and arrange for customs clearance.

After the mission, the requestor must report to the Center the number of people examined and the number of people fitted with eyeglasses on the Mission After Action Report form. Please report any especially poignant or special events related to vision services on the mission.

We provide eyeglasses, 50 to a box, each box containing eyeglasses in the prescription ranges shown on the Eyeglass Request Form.

The Center encourages all missions to staff themselves with medical or other personnel capable of determining a patient’s eyeglass prescription. Priority goes to such missions, and to missions that give the Center the time specified on the Eyeglass Request Form to accumulate the requested eyeglasses.

About Us

The Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center of Northern Virginia, located at 919 South Monroe Street, Arlington, VA 22204. The Center’s purpose is to recycle used eyeglasses and provide them to optical missions sponsored by Lions clubs and other groups that distribute donated eye eyeglasses to needy people.

The Center is located in District 24-L. Our Center operates at a main Center in Arlington and the Lake of the Wood Lions Club and the Lake of the Woods Lioness Lions Club, the Park West Lions Club, Remington Lions Club. The Lions District 22-C Eyeglass Recycling Center, at their respective locations, recycle eyeglasses in support of the Center .

Volunteers to do the work and conduct the business of the Center. These come from Lions, Lioness and Leo Clubs, and other community service and charitable groups and individuals. We have a dedicated group who do this but there is always a need for more hands. District 24-L Lions provide its volunteer staff:

Executive Director: Lion John Karinshak, Arlington Host Lions Club

Operations Manager: Lion Don Lundquist, Baileys Crossroads Host Lions Club

President: Lion Emily Carnes, PDG Arlington South Lions Club

Secretary: Lion Pam Martinov, Baileys Crossroads Host Lions Club

Treasurer: Lion Emily Carnes, PDG Arlington South Lions Club

Board of Directors:

Lion Emily Carnes, PDG Arlington South Lions Club

Lion Pam Martinov, Baileys Crossroads Host Lions Club

Lion Lloyd Bell Arlington South Lions CluB ( 1 year appointment Expires 06/30/2019)

PDG Joseph Volpe, Merrifield Lions Club (07/1/2018-06/30/2020)

PDG Charles Trigger, Spotsylvania Lions Club (07/01/2016-06/30/2019)

Lion Phil Loar, Falls Church Annandale Lions Club (07/1/2018-06/30/2020)

We are a Virginia chartered non-profit, tax exempt foundation organized under the provisions of Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All contributions, including eyeglasses, are tax-deductible. Our tax I.D. Number is 81-3035171.


Since Helen Keller challenged Lions to become Knights of the Blind, Lions Clubs from around the world have initiated programs aimed at helping vision and hearing impaired people.

One such program is the Lions Eyeglass Recycling program. This program collects and processes used eyeglasses and makes them available to people in need around the world. Today there are six centers in other countries and thirteen (13) in the United States. The Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center of Northern Virginia, Inc. (LERC NoVA) is one of them.

In 1998 at the suggestion of the Dr. Byers of Arlington Hospital, who was experiencing difficulty in obtaining a sufficient supply of glasses to take on medical missions, members of Falls Church and Arlington Host Lions drove to Roanoke to learn about their Center. Those Lions were John Ferguson and Clark Erikson of Falls Church, and Tom Caruso and Ed Ablard of Arlington. On their return, Clark wrote a Lions Club International Foundation grant request for $10,000 to start a center in Northern Virginia. The grant was approved. The center soon became operational. It began in the basement of Shreve McGonegal Plumbing Supply in Falls Church, VA. When the housing bubble crashed, Shreve McGonegal needed to rent the space. LERC NoVA had paid $1.00 annually. LERC NoVA couldn’t afford the new rent, which caused the center to find a new location. Dr. Byers arranged for this location at 919 South Monroe St, Arlington, VA 22304. Today, LERC NoVA is open Tuesday through Saturday, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. If no groups are scheduled the Center may close early at 3:00 PM. The Center is staffed totally by volunteers. Since established, there have been four Executive Directors: John Ferguson, Chuck Mendelbaum, Roy Davis and currently, John Karinshak.

The processing of the glasses includes sorting out scratched lenses and broken frames, washing and drying, reading the prescriptions (RX) on lensometers and bagging them individually with RX noted on each bag. The bagged eyeglasses are then placed in the shipping room, boxed 50 pairs per box sorted by type and RX. Most requests for glasses come from groups who do missions around the world. The glasses are provided free of charge. The only two restrictions are that they cannot be sold and the organization requesting them pays the shipping. Donations are collected throughout the district by Lions clubs, optometrist’s offices, at libraries or they are dropped off here at the Center. Moreover, volunteers at the Center come from many groups, high school honor students, Boy and Girl Scouts, local church volunteers or people with required community service hours or folks who just want to help. The Center is a good place to meet new people and make new friends.

Since inception, through June 2018 LERC NoVA has shipped over 3,000,000 pairs of eyeglasses to the those in need. The hallway is filled with photos on the wall of the smiles of those who have received their eyeglasses. Proof that the Center’s work is CHANGING LIVES, ONE PAIR AT A TIME!


We thank our volunteers for their contributions to the Center, the community and on behalf of the people whose lives will be improved by receiving the eyeglasses.

To volunteer for this important work call the Center (703-671-1919) to set a time.

Washing Pic

Cleaning Glasses Additional volunteer opportunities supporting the Center are available at:

· The Lake of the Woods Lions Club in Fredericksburg, VA . Please contact Lion Ron Moffa at 540-972-1443.

· The Park West Lions Club in Manassas, VA. Please Contact Lion Everlyn at 703-969-2722.

· The Lions District 22-C Eyeglass Recycling Center near Andrews AFB in Maryland. Please Contact Lion Betty Parker at 301-742-6096 or Lion Susan Mathews at 301-297-8791

EGRC pic004 The volunteers put the donated eyeglasses through a three stage process.

Drying glasses

First, volunteers prepare the eyeglasses, washing them with soap and warm water for cleaning, and dipping them in bleach and hot water for disinfecting and vinegar and hot water to prevent streaking, after which they hand dry them. EGRC Pic001

Second, the volunteers classify the eyeglasses using an instrument called a lens analyzer to measure the prescription of the glasses and record it on a small plastic bag holding the glasses.

Filing glasses

Last, volunteers sort the glasses by prescription, 50 to a box in which they will be shipped after a request for that prescription is received.

EGRC pic002 The staff at each location instructs volunteers on how to perform each task. Even the newest volunteer will be making useful contributions within minutes after starting.

Reading Glasses Prescription

We welcome all groups and individuals. All ages from junior high school children to senior citizens can do the work, separately or together. The activity can be done day or evening in all kinds of weather, the space is heated and air conditioned. We give community service credits and letters.

The Center can accommodate groups up to 20. If you or your group is too small in number to make it feasible to open the center we can combine you or your group with another group.

Volunteers under the age of 18 years old should bring a copy of the Center’s Child/Youth Permission Slip completed and signed by their parent or guardian.