The first Friday and Saturday of May each year is designated as Tennessee Lions "White Cane Days." This year you will see approximately 100 Fairfield Glade and Crossville Lions on May 5 and 6 asking for your generous donations. Seven worthwhile agencies will be able to continue serving the blind and deaf persons in our state as well as the world with your gifts.

The Fairfield Glade Lions will be in their bright gold vests and the Crossville Lions will be in a nice shiny blue. It makes no difference which color you choose, as all the collections go for the same cause. Ed and Sue Litman are chairpersons for Fairfield and Ken Miller is chair for Crossville. They have all been busy working out locations and times to collect your generous donations. Look for the table, pictures and the symbolic white cane at these locations:

•Friday, May 5 — Wal-Mart and Kroger from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Kmart, Lowe's, and Food City from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and the Village Green Mall in Fairfield from 9 a.m. to noon.

•Saturday, May 6 — Wal-Mart from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Kroger, Kmart, Lowe's, and Food City from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and the Fairfield Village Green Mall from 9 a.m. to noon.

Cumberland County is one of the 18 counties included in the Lions District 12-0. There are 39 Lions Clubs and 1,200 members in this district. It extends from Byrdstown in the north, Cleveland in the east, Chattanooga in the south, and Cookeville in the west. Two of the seven agencies that benefit from your contributions are in this district:

•District 12-0 Lions Eye Bank is located at the Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. Their primary purpose is to collect human eye tissue and distribute it to hospitals when a cornea is needed for a transplant. There is never a charge for this service.

•District 12-0 Lions Sight Services where ophthalmologists perform operations at a reduced cost for indigent patients. The hospital bills are borne by the Lions Eye Bank and Sight Services for these operations.

Three of the other agencies are located very close to us:

•Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic is located in Oak Ridge. It is one of a handful of recording studios in the U.S. where digital recordings are made of schoolbooks, from grade one to university. These "talking books" are available free to visually and physically handicapped students. It is operated totally by volunteers.

•Lions School for the Blind near Nashville has been a Lions state project since 1959. Special Christmas checks are given to students as well as clothing and necessities to those in need year round. There is also a work program that provides an opportunity for students to learn and develop essential work habits and earn limited amounts of money.

Tennessee School for the Deaf is located in Knoxville. Back in 1925, Helen Keller, who was not only blind but also deaf, challenged Lions International to become "Knights of the Blind and Deaf." The Lions have been faithful to this challenge ever since. Donated funds are used to assist students who cannot afford necessities such as eyeglasses, emergency tickets home, medications not covered by insurance, clothing, field trip expenses, special dietary needs, and classroom fees.

The remaining two agencies are also well known:

•Leader Dogs for the Blind is located in Rochester, MI. It is the leading provider of seeing eye dogs at no charge for the blind or deaf person. Many Tennessee residents have benefited from these wonderful companions. It is the only such facility in the U.S. that trains both blind and deaf persons for a leader dog.

•Lions World Services for the Blind is located in Little Rock, AR. Blind or visually impaired students have the opportunity to learn social skills, physical conditioning, communication skills, crafts, college prep work and techniques for daily living. Over 300 blind and deaf persons from Tennessee have been rehabilitated at this school.

Your generous contributions will be used for worthwhile organizations. Please watch for the symbolic white cane and a friendly Lion to say thanks for your support.