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Manlius girl scouts to collect used eyewear

Junior Girl Scout Troop 71 -- all fourth grade students from Enders Road Elementary School -- are urging classmates, friends and neighbors to collect more than just candy on Halloween night. The troop hopes to scare up plenty of used eyewear along their routes to be recycled and hand delivered to underprivileged people around the world.

"Sight Night," sponsored by Give the Gift of Sight Foundation and Lions Club International is celebrating its 10th year this October. In its nine-year history, more than 100,000 community volunteers have participated in the event, and more than 1 million pair of used eyeglasses have been collected. That's enough to help approximately 30,000 people, according to givethegiftofsight.org.

In 2008, 20 international missions are planned which demands 1.2 million pair of used eyewear to be recycled for an accomplished drive.

"Sight Night gives children and adults a tangible way to participate in a global act of kindness on Halloween," said Marilyn Mense, co-leader of Troop 71. "Our efforts will change lives. Some people who receive this eyewear may now be able to work or see the board in school because of their improved eyesight."

According to the World Health Organization, 250 million people in the world need corrective eyewear. But many, especially those in developing countries such as Mexico, Bolivia, Laos and Thailand, do not have access to or can't afford either eye care or eyewear. Each year, Give the Gift of Sight sponsors these optical missions to address this worldwide need.

The troop member "ghouls" involved in this mission have propped their orange plastic pumpkin pails with hand drawn eyeglasses. They plan to trick or treat in various Manlius neighborhoods, and will bring their pails to collect as many glasses as possible. Accepted eyewear includes intact prescription eyeglasses and non-prescription sunglasses of all styles, sizes and colors. They must be ready to wear.

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