Aerial view of volunteering center in Tanzania

Donate used eyeglasses to help people in rural Tanzania

Trillium Woods hosting a public drive through May 31

Did you know that 1 out of four children globally require eyeglasses to learn to read properly? By age 40, 90% of adults experience a decrease in their ability to read print and need eyeglasses. Unfortunately, many developing countries do not have the resources to produce high-quality lenses, and importing them is often too expensive for the average citizen. Millions fail to reach their economic, educational, and social potential without access to quality eyeglasses.

Trillium Woods, a LifePlan community in Plymouth, is partnering with the Minnesota Lions Club to host a donation drive for used eyeglasses May 17-31, 2023, to benefit patients of the newly opened Ophthalmology Clinic at the Dodoma Medical Center in Tanzania.

The Dodoma Medical Center (, which was founded by Trillium Woods residents Bobby and Barbara Griffin, is a 50-bed facility with almost 120 employees. The Dodoma Medical Center provides healthcare, dental care, and now eye care to several rural villages and serves about 85,000 patients annually.

Before retiring, Bobby Griffin was an Executive Vice President at Medtronic while Barbara Griffin had a career in nursing. After retiring, they traveled to Tanzania frequently for mission trips and eventually founded the Dodoma Medical Center in 2003

“We dreamt of a sustainable healthcare facility,” says Barbara. “From the start, we envisioned it as run by local Tanzanians because we knew that the talent would be available, they just needed someone to empower them.”

“The Griffins are just two examples of the exceptional — and the exceptionally generous — residents at Trillium Woods,” says the senior living community’s Executive Director Matt Phipps.

Members of the public are invited to participate

The eyeglass drive is accepting old, unwanted eyeglasses, non-prescription sunglasses, and reading glasses. Through its internationally used eyeglass recycling program, the Lions Club will clean, repair, and sort the donations in preparation for use at the Dodoma Medical Center.

Area residents who would like to make donations can drop them off any day at the Trillium Woods lobby (5855 Cheshire Pkwy in Plymouth) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 17-31.