(July 24, 2015) - Every day, a handful of guests take their eyeglasses off at Tampa International Airport and then they walk away. They leave them at security checkpoints. In restaurants. Near restroom sinks. On benches at the curbsides.
Lion's Eye Institute Foundation Development Coordination Angela Pottinger and TPA Manager of Administration Mitch Thrower pose with just a few of the donated boxes of eyeglasses
The TPA Lost and Found keeps the glasses for a period of time, hoping the owner calls and returns for them. But for the thousand or so that are left and forgotten each year, the glasses are given a new purpose thanks to a partnership with the Lion’s Eye Institute Foundation.
This week, TPA donated more than 1,600 pair of reading and nearsighted eyeglasses to the Foundation’s Ybor City office. The glasses will be distributed to low-income or needy visually impaired people throughout Tampa Bay area and beyond.
“We refurbish them and give them to people who can’t afford glasses,” said Angela Pottinger, the Lions Eye Institute Foundation Development Coordinator. Though TPA has made some donations to the Foundation in the past, “we’ve never gotten a donation of this scale from the airport before,” she said.
Mitch Thrower, TPA’s Manager of Administration, said the glasses were collected over a period of about a year and a half. Many of the lost items the Airport collects get publicly auctioned off after several months of sitting in Lost and Found, but TPA tries to find local charities to take certain donated items when possible.
The Airport also periodically donates clothes, coats, canes and walkers to the local chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America.
For more information about the Lion’s Eye Institute Foundation, go to:
http://www.lionseyeinstitute.org/the-foundation (link is external). To report a lost item at TPA, visit: