ELKINS PARK -- It seemed like a perfect fit to Sheldon Simpson. And, it was.
When approached by Salus University, Simpson, president of the Hogs & Honeys Foundation for Kids, and his organization were interested in making a contribution to the University’s “Looking Out for Kids” (LOFK) initiative.
The LOFK initiative helps provide vision care and hearing screenings for under-insured and uninsured children in Philadelphia and its surrounding communities, oftentimes by taking its “Big Red Bus” – a mobile eye exam unit – to local schools to provide eye exams to students in need. The Hogs & Honeys Foundation for Kids, a 501c3 nonprofit, specifically raises money for disadvantaged and underprivileged kids in Montgomery County.
According to Simpson, his group which consists of motorcycle enthusiasts that formed the foundation in 2004, also holds an annual fundraiser that draws 1,000 to 1,200 people, thought the LOFK program was a “perfect fit” after learning more.
That partnership resulted in Hogs & Honeys making a $5,000 donation to LOFK in January in conjunction with eye exams being conducted on the Big Red Bus for 19 students at Franconia Elementary School in the Souderton Area School District.
“We were approached by Souderton Area School District to provide complimentary eye exams and glasses and we just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t in the budget with the expansion we’re doing in Philadelphia, Chester and Norristown,” said Jacqueline Patterson, interim vice president of Institutional Advancement and Community Relations at Salus University.
But according to Patterson, the Hogs & Honeys donation made the trip to Franconia Elementary possible -- staffed by Dr. Brandy Scombordi, pediatric optometrist at The Eye Institute and coordinator of the School Vision Programs, and Pennsylvania College of Optometry students Jayro Loya-Grijalva ‘20OD and Alyssa Carpenter ‘20OD -- examined 19 children from both Franconia Elementary and E. Merton Crouthamel Elementary School, also in the Souderton Area School District.
“That is important, because when you think of districts throughout Pennsylvania, there is need in every district,” she said. “What we do is work with the school districts and school nurses to identify that need. Some families actually have the resources to take their kids to get the glasses. But imagine the ones who don’t. And, we’re here for that.”
Franconia Elementary School nurse Robin Kreiser, RN, BSN, said it was “huge” for the Big Red Bus to be parked in the lot just outside the school side door.
“Kids that would not have access to glasses can get them,” said Kreiser. “Some parents don’t have the means or a way to get (their children) to an appointment or can’t get connected with local resources.”
Hogs & Honeys, in addition to Simpson, was represented by Kristen O’Brien, director of fundraising and development, and Chuck Conway, director of security, at the check presentation.
“We help kids in Montgomery County and this is a perfect thing to do with the money we raise,” said Simpson. “We’re very happy and proud to be part of the Looking Out for Kids program.”