|By Dan Cooper|
"The Lions Clubs from the entire District of 33Y helped pay for the Eye Mobile. It was not just the Club from the town of Hampden, as the story suggests," Lions Club District Governor David Gervais told Reminder Publications.
Gervais was responding to a story that appeared in the Feb. 5 issue of The Reminder that said the town of Hampden's Lions Club had recently bought a new Eye Mobile on their own.
"There are 40 clubs within our district," Gervais said. "The purchase of the Eye Mobile was a joint effort between all of them."
Gervais said the clubs are stretched throughout four counties in western Massachusetts. "The Lions Clubs of Hampden, Hampshire, Berkshire, and Franklin county all make up District 33Y, and each club did separate fundraising to help pay for the Eye Mobile," Gervais said.
Gervais said that each club helped fundraise as best as they could.
"There were no overall monetary goal for each club," he said. "We just asked them to help with whatever they could give, since each club is different financially. Some clubs did a pancake breakfast, and there were other fund-raisers done," Gervais said. "There are too many to name, however. We have also gotten grants to help us pay for the Eye Mobile," Gervais said.
Gervais said they received a $75,000 grant from the Lions Club International Foundation, in addition to grants from the Davis Foundation and the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.
"The Eye Mobile was budgeted at $150,000 and by the time we had raised enough money, the price went up," Gervais said. "We are almost there, however, in terms of fund-raising. We have gotten a lot of money in the last three or four years and almost have the Mobile fully paid for."
Gervais said that the Eye Mobile will be up and running in the spring for use. "We will be at parades, fairs, schools, senior centers, and anywhere else where a screening can be done or a need arises," he said.
"I would like to give credit to all of the Lions Clubs in our district for doing a great job in getting the Eye Mobile," Gervais said. The Eye Mobile is a large motor home with an optometrist's office inside it.