The Hillsborough County Tax Collector’s Office, Lion’s Eye Institute and the Glazer Vision Foundation have partnered on a new program offering children free eye exams and eyeglasses at tax collector office locations around the county in June.
Hillsborough County Tax Collector Nancy Milan says the initiative comes from a meeting and conversation she had with Lion’s Eye President and CEO Jason Woody at a Ybor City Chamber of Commerce meeting. Milan says she saw similarities to Donate Life, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing organ and tissue donations with which her office partners, and wanted to give Lion’s Eye access to her agency’s offices to help promote their mission.
From there, Lion’s Eye brought in the Glazer Vision Foundation and its mobile vision clinic.
Hillsborough County Tax Collector’s Office Director of Communications and Outreach Debra Bellanti says through the mobile clinic, children will be able to show up and get an eye exam and a pair of glasses within hours.
"They make them right there on the truck," Bellanti says of the eyeglasses.
The goal is to serve 30 children at each location through a mix of appointments and walk-ins. The need is significant. A press release on the program estimates that 80 percent of vision impairment issues can be corrected or cured but one in five children is unable to afford eye care.
This partnership builds on the Tax Collector’s Office's efforts to open its locations around the county to charitable causes. Each July, the office partners with the Hillsborough Education Foundation on its annual school supply drive.
The program is open to children ages 5 to 17. At each Tax Collector’s Office location that the mobile vision clinic visits, it will be on-site from 10 a.m to 2 p.m.
Here is the remaining schedule for the free eye exams and glasses:
-June 16 East Tampa, 2814 E Hillsborough Ave.
-June 17 North Tampa, 3011 University Center Drive.
-June 23 Plant City, 4706 Sydney Road.
-June 24 Southshore, 406 30th St. SE in Ruskin.
For more information and to sign up go to Glazer Vision Foundation/Lion’s Eye Institute.