Wisconsin Lions Clubs Have a Long History of Supporting the Council’s White Cane Fund

Members of the Town of Sheboygan Lions Club sitting and standing at a bar.
Members of the Town of Sheboygan Lions Club

In mid-May, Fund Development Director Lori Werbeckes traveled northeast to give a presentation to the Town of Sheboygan Lions Club, which has been a good friend to the Council for many years. Lions Clubs across Wisconsin have long supported the Council’s mission and continue to give to our White Cane Fund.

The Council has been providing free white canes to people with vision loss since even before our formal founding in 1952. Last year, the Council was able to give over 500 people across the state a white cane to help empower them to be as independent as possible and to safely travel in their community. Those white canes were made possible by the generous gifts our supporters make to the Council’s White Cane Fund.

The White Cane Fund supports more than just white canes. It also allows the Council to provide a variety of services to clients who are unable to afford the fee. It costs the Council a significant amount of money to provide vision services, and clients who have the ability to pay are expected to do so. However, we also know that 30% of older adults with vision loss in Wisconsin earn less than $20,000 a year, putting the cost of vision services out of reach. The White Cane Fund helps fill that gap. From low vision evaluations to orientation and mobility training to access technology instruction, donations to the White Cane Fund make an enormous difference in the lives of many of our clients.

The Council has had an important relationship with Lions Clubs across Wisconsin for decades. Every year, we connect with nearly 400 local Lions Clubs by sharing information and inviting them to become involved in Council events. In turn, many Clubs support us with an annual gift.

Meanwhile, Lions Clubs have worked to support and empower people with vision loss in their communities through such efforts as vision screenings for students and helping individuals purchase adaptive equipment. These services are particularly vital in rural areas of the state, where there are often fewer other resources available to people with vision loss.

“Vision loss has long been a major tenant of the Lions mission,” says Andy Krueger, President of the Town of Sheboygan Lions Club. “Learning more about the needs of the people the Council supports and giving support to the Council to provide those services really fits in well with the vision support pillar of our organization.”

The link between the Council and Lions Clubs across Wisconsin has proven incredibly valuable. For every presentation the Council gives to a Lions Club, we can reach and inform anywhere from 10 to 50 people about how we can all work to best serve people with vision loss.

“The Council’s relationship with Lions Clubs throughout the state is important to us because of our mutual connection to people with vision loss,” Lori says. “We value the many ways they serve their communities through eye screenings, collecting used glasses, and sometimes providing adaptive products for individuals. Besides that, many clubs throughout the state provide financial gifts to the Council so we can continue the work we do.”

While financial gifts from Lions are important and valued, they alone cannot support the Council. Please consider donating to our White Cane Fund to help us continue providing valuable services to people across Wisconsin. Many of you recently received a letter from the Council asking for your gift. If you prefer to give online, you can donate today at WCBlind.org/Donate. Thank you!

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