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DEAR ABBY: I appreciated learning about the VISION USA free eye-care program that was recently mentioned in your column, but I want you and your readers to know that there are also other assistance programs available. Every day I see working people who can't afford insurance for themselves and their families. That is where the Lions clubs come in.

Many Lions clubs provide assistance with free eye care (exams, glasses and surgery) for those in need. There are approximately 1.4 million members in more than 44,600 clubs in 190 countries. Over the years, the Lions have extended their service to help with hearing exams, hearing aids and medical assistance for diabetics. We work with local eye-care professionals to help children and adults.

To get in touch with your local Lions club, check community resources or visit www.lionsclubs.org. We are ordinary citizens trying to help needy people in our local areas. We also support youth programs, community development, eyeglass recycling and much more. Thank you, Abby, for your longtime support of the Lions clubs throughout the world. -- SANDY CARAWAN, GREAT BRIDGE LIONS CLUB, CHESAPEAKE, VA.

DEAR SANDY: You are the people who should be thanked for contributing to your communities in such an important way by helping people who could not otherwise find assistance.

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