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Archive for Friday, October 13, 1989

LEAGUE PROVIDES FREE SHOESEYEGLASSES

October 13, 1989

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The right to jump in puddles and the right to examine butterflies.

To adults, these rights may not seem serious, but to children they are very important.

Unfortunately, not all children can enjoy these simple pleasures. If you can't afford shoes, puddles are out of the question, and if you can't afford glasses, you'll never see the butterflies.

Fortunately, the Social Service League of Lawrence provides school children whose families can't afford new shoes and eye exams a chance to get them.

The Social Service League is the oldest service agency in Douglas County. It was founded in 1863, shortly after Quantrill's Raid, and was incorporated in 1911. The Social Service League of Lawrence has served Douglas County residents ever since.

DON HERBEL, director of the Special Services for the Lawrence School District, said that with the help of the Social Service League, many children have received shoes and glasses.

``We're fortunate that we have a community that will support this type of program,'' Herbel said. ``It's a nice program to help those who are less fortunate.''

Herbel said that school nurses and teachers recommend students for help. After a committee verifies their need, they are referred to the Social Service League.

Dora Bice, a longtime volunteer for the league, said that United Way funds are what make the shoe and eyeglass fund possible.

``All of the money we get from the United Way goes to paying for shoes and eye exams, Mrs. Bice said. ``In 1988 we spent about $1,500 on shoes for students.''

According to the United Way's tentative budget, the Social Service League of Lawrence will receive $1,944 for 1990.

MRS. BICE said that last year 92 eligible children were given coupons that entitled them to one free pair of shoes for the year. Each coupon is redeemable at a shoe store by pre-arrangement, she said.

``For eye exams, we pay the doctors a set, reduced rate,'' Mrs. Bice said. ``Last year 21 children received free eye exams.

``The cost of glasses is picked up by another local organization, like a men's group.''

Money also goes to the Baldwin and Eudora school districts for shoes, Mrs. Bice said. Last year Baldwin received $150, and Eudora $50.

In addition to the shoe and eyeglass fund, the Social Service League operates a thrift store at 905 R.I. The store provides inexpensive items such as clothes, books and kitchen utensils.

Mrs. Bice said the league began the store operation in earnest shortly after World War I, when the Red Cross gave it many of its leftover supplies.

SOON THE store began selling the items at low prices, she said.

``We discovered that it meant more to people if they paid for things themselves,'' Mrs. Bice said. ``Even if it was just a little bit, it meant it belonged to them.''

Five volunteers help run the store, which is independent of United Way funding. Proceeds from the store's sales provide the salary for one staff member and the maintenance of the store, Mrs. Bice said.

Most of the store's customers are Lawrence residents, because they usually don't have access to a car, Mrs. Bice said. But there are regular customers from outside Lawrence, too.

``It's really all about caring for people,'' Mrs. Bice said. ``We provide something special for many people a place to buy things for themselves.''

Mrs. Bice said that most of the items for sale come from individual donations and churches.

The league also donates clothing if emergencies arise, she said.

The Social Service League store is open on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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