SNEEDVILLE — For 70 residents of Hancock County, the year 2020 means better vision through a partnership with Of One Accord Ministry.
Each year, through a grant from Americans Helping Americans, 70 Hancock residents are provided with a new pair of eyeglasses.
Many Appalachian families experience poor vision because a large percent fall under the poverty guidelines and after necessary bills are paid, things like eyeglasses are considered an unaffordable luxury, OOA Ministry Director Sheldon Livesay said.
Fortunately through the generosity of Americans Helping Americans, Of One Accord has found some other partnerships that provide a way to stretch grant funding to reach the most families.
Dr. James Crutchfield, an optometrist from Tazewell, comes to Sneedville each week and examines a limited number of patients without charge. Then, Payless Optical, in Knoxville, agreed to provide frames and glasses and come and do the fitting for glasses at their “cost” price.
Livesay said he remembers the first year the grant was awarded.
“Dr. Crutchfield had agreed to examine patients, but we couldn’t find an eyeglass company that would work with us,” Livesay said. “We prayed and prayed and I came across someone who told me that they thought a company called Payless, in Knoxville, had some type of program for eyeglasses, so I looked and found a listing for a Payless Optical.”
Livesay, at the time, didn’t know that this business was owned by Mark Crawley, a Christian businessman whose family had been praying for a way to use their skills in the mission field.
Livesay called and they agreed to do the glasses at a “cost” basis.
“This is the sixth year they have come to Appalachia to serve in this way,” Livesay said. “We often find that God leads in ways like this. We thought we were calling a national company but God led us right to someone who had also been praying to find us!”