It was a once in a lifetime, incredible experience.
His plan was to collect used reading and prescription glasses for the needy in Cambodia.
He also collected money to take to Cambodia to purchase new prescription and reading glasses.
He collected glasses and money by going door to door with his scout troop to some of the neighborhoods around our area. He and his friends also stood outside the local grocery store and passed out flyers explaining the project and volunteering to come to people's homes to pick up used glasses.
The generosity was incredible!
He worked with a humanitarian missionary couple, who put him in contact with The National Center for the Disabled and an orphanage in Phnom Penh. He coordinated all of the pre-trip work with them. Then we met with them to firm up the plans on our first day in Phnom Penh.
Finally, the project took place on Friday, July 23rd.
First we went to the NGO - The National Center for the Disabled.
Parker met with Veasna - the executive director, who also happens to be the Advisor to the Royal Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia. So you can call him Veasna, or by his title: His Excellency.
Parker had enough money to purchase 500 pairs of reading glasses and cases for all of them.
When we arrived, there were 150 people in line.We organized all the glasses on the tables and Parker was given the opportunity to address the crowd, welcome them, thank them and explain how they could try on the reading glasses and see which ones worked.
Parker, two missionary couples and about 15 or 20 of Veasna's staff assisted the people with trying on glasses, passing out cases, explaining how to care for the glasses, etc.
We handed out nearly 200 pairs of reading glasses. Veasna has 800 people on a waiting list and he and his staff plan to take the remaining 300 pairs out into the other cities and provinces in Cambodia to those who need them. Veasna really wanted to take Parker with him, but we couldn't commit to another 2 weeks in Cambodia. ;)
The whole morning was amazing and probably one of the most rewarding experiences ever. It's hard for me to imagine the impact Parker's project had on the lives of these people.
But wait! Unbelievably, the day gets even better! I'll post Part 2 - the Orphanage in a couple of days.