Meghan Jones, Director of Development at the half Helen Foundation, is clearly passionate about her work. You can hear it in her voice when she tells the story of a little boy named Alex, who kept passing eye chart exams despite his mother knowing that he was having trouble seeing.
Half Helen is a nonprofit organization providing free eye care and glasses to area children who would otherwise go without. The organization prides itself on technology it employs in screenings, and in Alex’s case, it made a life-changing difference.
“Our spot vision screener showed he was very farsighted, so much so that the eye chart exams missed it,” Jones said. “We put glasses on him and he came out like a rock star, it was so cute.”
Alex looked at his mother and said, “Momma, I didn’t know you had freckles!” The moment moved his mom and the half Helen staff to tears. “For many of the children we help, it will be the first time in their lives they’re able to see clearly,” Jones explained.
Half Helen was one of seven spring 2021 recipients of a PEC community grant. They received $3,900 to outfit their brand-new mobile vision clinic — named optical Prime — with computers needed to record results of eye exams and process orders for glasses. The clinic was built from scratch from the wheels up, thanks in part to donated labor and materials from generous contractors. With optical Prime and the new computers, half Helen can drive the clinic to schools and give eye exams from two licensed optometrists. Kids who need glasses can then choose from 250 frame options they have on board, free of charge.
“One of the greatest barriers to accessing health care is cost,” Jones said. “It is community support that allows us to eliminate that barrier by providing these services for free. We couldn’t have built our clinic without donations and grants like the one we received from PEC.”
PEC grants are made possible thanks to the generosity of members enrolled in our Power of Change program. The Power of Change program allows members the option to round up their electric bills to the nearest dollar for charity. The average monthly account contribution is $0.49 per enrolled member. Join PEC’s Power of Change and help spark positive action in your community. Visit pec.coop/power-of-change to learn more.