Eastman Foundation Donation

Pictured (from left) are Amanda Barrett, Eastman Foundation; Frank Waldo and Michelle Campbell, Appalachian Miles for Smiles; Keltie Kerney and Wayne Garland, Kingsport Lions Club; and Paula Bulcao, Eastman Foundation.

Eastman Foundation Donation

Eastman Foundation recently awarded $10,000 to Kingsport Lions Club to fund the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment for a community partner that has a clear vision for positive community impact.

Over the last year, Appalachian Miles for Smiles has provided services valued at more than $150,000 at no cost to patients. With the installment of the new equipment, AMS can now print and assemble up to 25 pairs of eyeglasses per day. This added service will allow the organization to meet the growing demand for vision needs across Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

One of the primary areas of service for the Kingsport Lions Club is sight conservation. For several years, the Lions Club has arranged for annual vision testing at several schools in the Kingsport City and Sullivan County school systems.

When Appalachian Miles for Smiles opened its vision lab in 2018, the Lions Club chapter found a natural partner to help reach more people in the community with vision impairment needs.

Appalachian Miles for Smiles (AMS) provides quality dental and vision care at no cost to uninsured and under-insured residents of East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, including comprehensive eye exams, free prescription glasses, and referrals.

AMS had hopes of purchasing an eyeglass lens printer to streamline the process for patients needing new glasses.

“The Lions Club motto is simple, ‘we serve,’ and that is exactly what the team and volunteers at Appalachian Miles for Smiles do every day,” said Wayne Garland, Kingsport Lions Club Immediate Past President. “Knowing Eastman Foundation’s commitment to support ongoing COVID relief, I saw an opportunity for Lions Club to team up with the Foundation to make a wish list item a reality for the vision lab.”

The donation is part of a commitment by Eastman Foundation to contribute $1 million toward global relief efforts in 2021 as organizations continue to work through the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in their communities.

Eastman’s COVID grants aim to address the growing gap between the need for essential resources by the most vulnerable and underserved populations and the capacity of communities to meet those needs. Organizations receiving Eastman Foundation grants include those established to provide food, housing, childcare, health, and educational support increasingly needed during the pandemic.

“The pandemic has certainly created significant hardships for many within our communities, affecting nearly all of us in some way,” said Paula Bulcao, Eastman Foundation Director. The work of organizations such as Appalachian Miles for Smiles has been evermore critical with the growing demands on our healthcare providers, and we appreciate their ongoing efforts to help ensure individuals and families in our community have access to vision and dental care. Combine their work and mission with the passion of local service organizations like the Lions Club, and there was no question Eastman Foundation wanted to help.”

“We are humbled by the support from the Lions Club and Eastman Foundation,” said Frank Waldo, Founder and President of Appalachian Miles for Smiles. “Our mission to provide free dental and vision services to our community wouldn’t be possible without the countless volunteers that serve at our clinics and the support of local businesses and organizations. The needs have increased significantly over the last two years. To have the opportunity to improve our vision services and print eye glasses on demand right here in Kingsport is special, and we are incredibly grateful and excited to put the new equipment to work for our patients.”

About Eastman Foundation

Eastman Foundation invests in initiatives that serve and strengthen communities around the world and improve the quality of life. The Foundation focuses its resources on organizations and projects in the areas of education, environment, empowerment and economic development. Learn more about Eastman Foundation at eastmanfoundation.com