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How blind and visually impaired people in Lancaster County are making a difference during the pandemic

They're some of the heroes of the pandemic -- making masks and bottling disinfectant even while living with disabilities.

LANCASTER, Pa. — Masks and disinfectant have been in high demand throughout the pandemic. In Lancaster County, there are some exceptional people who are making sure others have both.  

Stitch by stitch - bottle by bottle - the men and women at VisionCorps are some of the heroes of the pandemic.

“Knock on wood - no one's been sick,” said employee Mike Hora. “I would much rather be doing this; it's probably much harder sitting at home."

Hora is bottling disinfectant and cleaners while living with a disability.

“I’ve had glaucoma since the mid-80’s, and it's only over the last 8 years, and actually last year and 4 months, I’m losing my eyesight very rapidly,” said Hora.

Nevertheless, Hora’s positivity is contagious.

“I have my struggles, but again, I don’t, you know, think of myself as going blind or being blind,” said Hora.

VisionCorps is a nonprofit organization that helps the blind and visually impaired, and Hora said it focuses on how it can help the visually impaired versus what they can’t do.

VisionCorps is the benchmark for agencies providing exceptional Rehabilitation, Education, & Employment Services for people who are blind or visual impaired

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“I was doing the research and there's really no, you know, 1-800 help me I’m going blind, so somebody told me about VisionCorps, and it was everything I was looking for,” said Hora.

“We recognized early on that there was a need for these masks, and we had the capability to do it,” said President and CEO Dennis Steiner.

As soon as the cut cloth arrives at VisionCorps, employees who are visually impaired work from start to finish: sewing, hemming, packaging and distributing the masks that will soon be worn by people in Lancaster County. They will be sold for a little more than 2 dollars, but Steiner says that's really not the point.

“It’s more about fulfilling a need and and creating employment opportunities,” added Steiner.

For Hora, it also helps him forget.

“I can't even tell you about the services and supports and then, working with the the other workers here. Some are totally in the dark, and they come to work. They work hard, and we all forget about our disabilities.”

Steiner says they will be making the masks until there is no longer a need.

You can read more about VisionCorps here.

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