W. MI stepsisters collect glasses to help kids in Bangladesh

Marian Listen (left) and Claire Hoop (right) are collecting glasses to give to children in need in Bangladesh.


WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — As the season of giving approaches, two West Michigan sisters are thinking about children like them thousands of miles away.

Marian Listen, 9, and Claire Hoop, 10, haven’t always been sisters.

“We’ve been stepsisters since 2014, said Listen. Her mother corrects her that it was actually 2013.

Marriage brought the two together, but the sisters have a lot in common.

Both love to talk about their baby brother Joey, go to St. John Vianney Catholic School in Wyoming and wear glasses.

“I’ve had mine since I was 2 1/2, she’s had hers since second grade,” said Listen.

It’s a big part of why they decided to collect glasses for children they have never met.

Listen and Hoop come from a family of givers, which created the International Promise Foundation.

IPF is a Byron Center-based charity that’s taken Samaritan’s Children’s Home — a home for orphaned and underprivileged children in Bangladesh — under its wing.

“We would say that’s all God, the way that we found the home and really felt our first trip we saw the need and the honesty and pureness of the home director,” said Jenna Kape, the girls’ aunt.

Over the years, their family members have made 25 trips to Bangladesh.

On Monday, the sisters will fly out ready to deliver the gift of sight.

“At school we have 99 pairs, the rest in this bin and my grandpa gave us 207 pairs of glasses, so we have like over 300 pairs,” said Hoop.

For many, the cost of the frames is a large burden for those in need.

“Sometimes it’s hard for our children to see that’s a blessing and that’s a gift and that’s something you have simply because you’re a child being raised in America,” she said. “That’s not how the rest of the world lives.”

The girls are excited to see how the children in Bangladesh will react.

“Not all the kids need glasses but probably every kid that needs glasses will have glasses. It’s going to be really exciting to see the joy on their faces,” Listen said.

For more information on the International Promise Foundation, visit its website.