In the late 1960’s, the North Carolina Division of Services for the Blind approached the Kinston Host Lions Club to establish a facility to serve the area’s blind and visually handicapped. After two years of study by the Host and the Ram Neuse Clubs, a charter was issued and in April, 1971, “Eastern Carolina Industries for the Blind, Inc.” was established on East Street in Kinston. The ultimate goal was, and remains, to provide employment for the blind and visually impaired in a setting that affords both income and dignity to the individual, with no compromise on the quality of production.
In 1975 the operation was moved to a larger facility on East Lenoir Avenue and the charter amended to officially change the name to “Lions Industries for the Blind, Inc.” (LIB). In 1976, LIB became a project of the entire Lions District and also became associated with National Industries for the Blind, a non-profit agency through which all government work is assigned to affiliated agencies. In April, 1981, the operation was moved to West Vernon Avenue. The facilities at 2600 West Vernon were expanded in 1986 to provide 13,700 square feet for operations. In October2002, LIB moved to its present location at 4126 Berkeley Avenue. The move to Berkeley Avenue increased the space for LIB to carry out its operation to 40,500 square feet. Through the hard work and cooperation of our Board of Directors, many Lions Club Members, and its employees, LIB has achieved a reputation for providing viable jobs to blind and visually impaired citizens of Eastern North Carolina.
Most of our products are sold to the Federal Government under the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act. This Act requires us to meet competitive quality and price standards…and we have. Our success has allowed expansion of employment opportunities and facilities offered to the blind and visually impaired. We have also been able to provide employment for those with other serious disabilities such as deafness, retardation, diabetes, and orthopedic problems. LIB will continue to offer its clients the employment opportunities and experience they need to take their place as a productive member of society. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the N.C. Division of services for the Blind, National Industries for the Blind, the AbilityOne Program, and to our Board of Directors and members of the Kinston Host and Ram Neuse Lions Clubs for making the work done at LIB possible.