You're never too old to make a difference. New Eyes for the Needy founder, the late Julia Lawrence Terry, is proof.
In 1932 Terry, a Short Hills resident in her 60's volunteered at a Red Cross food depot to provide relief for people during the Great Depression. When individuals came in to the Red Cross for food, she realized that they were having trouble filling out the forms because they couldn't see. She began collecting eye glasses in Short Hills to distribute among these people.
It soon became apparent, however, the glasses she collected wouldn't be a perfect match every time as each prescription is different. She also noticed most of the eye glasses she collected were framed in silver or gold. She got her smelter's license in order to melt these frames down for scrap and sell to raise money for eye glasses. People also began donating jewelry to the organization. In the late 60's, the organization added a jewelry and giftware showroom to their headquarters on Millburn Avenue.
The Fabulous Finds Boutique has been around for years, but this is the first year that Saturday hours have been added to the normal Thursday hours.
"We wanted to reach more people. A lot of people that come on a Saturday, can't come on Thursdays," said Sue Dyckman, New Eyes for the Needy executive director. "Last year Fabulous Finds raised $50,000. The proceeds support our voucher program to provide glasses for those in need in the United States."
Although the non-profit is based in Short Hills, it has helped people in all 50 states through the voucher program. "We partner with social service departments throughout the U.S. to supply vouchers for glasses for those who qualify," said Dyckman.
Potential applicants must fill out an application that can be found online at New Eyes website; they must have had an eye exam within the last 12 months and must be working through a social services agency. "With kids that could be a school nurse. But there are a lot more resources available for kids so we tend to get applications from adults and senior citizens," said Dyckman.
Since 1932 New Eyes for the Needy has helped over 7 million people. In addition to providing vouchers for glasses in the United States, the organization collects old glasses to be sent abroad.
Dyckman encourages individuals to make a tax deductible gift of jewelry any time. "They can come by the office from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday; or 9 a.m. to 12pm on Fridays to drop off, or we have a drop box where they can leave their donations as well."
She also encourages people to come out and shop for jewelry and gifts. The boutique is open Thursdays from September through November and will be open 4 more Saturdays during that time.