charity
Volunteers Toni Saxton and Lyn Ross at Allira House Op Shop displaying their collected prescription glasses. Photo: Peter Stoop

When Sue Smedley’s parents passed away two years ago, she was at a loss as to what to do with their spectacles.

The classic 70’s big-rimmed pair her mum wore, and the “very ugly” pair her father adorned for years, were among a handful of others left accumulating dust.

The mother-of-three said she had always believed that “what goes around comes around”, so she began researching a way to put the prescription glasses to good use.

Through her regular volunteering at the Warners Bay Allira House Op Shop, she found a new home, not only for her own collection of specs but for the many donated to the charity.

Allira House Op Shop sells clothing, footwear and household items to raise funds to support a refuge for women and children fleeing domestic violence situations.

“We can’t sell prescription glasses at the op shop,” Sue said.

“But we can collect them and pass them on to be reused somewhere else.”

Sue’s collection of spectacles has become a cog in a chain of giving.

“I drop them at Chapman’s Optometrists and they give them to the Lions Club, and then they make their way to Mercy Ships,” she said.

The Optometrist and the Lions Club are both based in Warners Bay.

Mercy Ships is an international charity offering free medical treatment to people in developing countries by trained medical staff onboard hospital ships.

Founded in 1978, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1.66 billion, with more than 2.77 million direct beneficiaries.

“It’s very rewarding to be a part of helping others,” Sue said.

“I’ve been a stay-at-home-mum for years and this is my way of giving back.”

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