A lending ear -- and eyes -- for the needy – QNS.com

A lending ear — and eyes — for the needy

The need to help others seems to run in the Caiazza family.

Four months ago, Matthew Caiazza rounded up the community to help him send care packages to U.S. Marines serving in Afghanistan.

Now, twin brother Thomas, a life scout from Boy Scout Troop 139 in Howard Beach, is heading up his own plan to bring sight and sound to the less fortunate.

As part of his Eagle Scout Project, Caiazza’s goal is to collect and donate as many new and used eyeglasses and hearing aids as he can. So far, the 15-year-old has collected more than 75 items since his project began over the summer.

“I’m hoping to get a whole lot more, but it’s a big step to already have so many pairs,” Caiazza said. “I already know that these pairs are going to people who need them. Even if I got one, I would have been happy. That’s just another person out there who can hear and see now.”

To get the ball rolling, Caiazza teamed up with the Lions Club, an international volunteer service organization. Through the Lions Recycle for Sight program, donated eyeglasses and hearing aids are cleaned, sorted by prescription strength, packaged and sent to the needy in developing countries.

The idea stemmed from personal habits of his own family members.

“Everyone in my family wears glasses. When they get new pairs, they sort of just leave the old ones lying there,” Caiazza said. “I asked myself, ‘What could I do with everybody’s glasses that they’re not using anymore?’ I figured people around the world could use them.”

So far, Caiazza has spent several hours collecting at two local senior centers. He has also left donation boxes around the community.

The Caiazza parents couldn’t be more proud.

“He’s always looking to help people in need and this is very thoughtful and efficient,” said father Oscar. “He decided to do something helpful for the community and he’s been very aggressive in following up and looking for places to collect.”

On the success of both twins, mother Barbara said: “I’m really proud. They were able to accomplish all this at the age of 15.”

Thomas plans on collecting for a few more months before sending in his final set to the Lions Club. He will hold a collection at St. Helen’s Church on Sunday, October 16.

“It feels like a big step of maturity for me,” he said.

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