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Paying it forward with a free medical equipment loan program
MERIDIAN, Idaho —
Most people don’t keep a wheelchair or walker in their closet. Most don’t need such home medical equipment every day, but when you do need them, how can they get it without breaking the bank?
One option is the free medical equipment exchange program run out of a shop owned by Dale Anderson.
Anderson co-founded the program through the Knights of Columbus Risen Christ Council in Meridian back in 2002.
It started small with only a few pieces of equipment in the corner of his shop. Now, it has taken over the shop and then some.
The Exchange is open one day a week, Thursday, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Each Thursday is controlled chaos with up to 100 people coming and going and a dozen volunteers trying to help them all.
Angie Nelson found Dale in that chaos and presented him with a $500 "Pay It Forward" from Mountain America Credit Union, “I'm here today because you were nominated by somebody in the community for all the work you're doing here for the Knights of Columbus medical equipment loan program and the thousands of people you help.”
Last year alone, they helped over 5,000.
Dale took us on a tour, “We've got quad-canes here, we've got wheelchairs, transport chairs -- they're half the weight of a wheelchair.”
They also have gauze pads, tape, compression socks, mattress pads, oxygen bottles and so much more. “These are bed canes, we've already given out 4 of them this morning,” Dale said. “That's another item we can't keep in.”
All is loaned out – free of charge – to anyone who needs it for as long as they need it. “Most people only need the things for about 8 weeks. And it's a crying shame to have to go out and spend $2,500 to buy all this to use for 8 weeks and then, what do you do with it?”
Most of the big items are used. Each is inspected upon return, then cleaned and repaired before being sent out again. “We all enjoy it because we're all just basically mechanically inclined and this is just right up our alley,” said Chuck, one of the volunteers. “So, we really enjoy it and we like helping people.”
Dick DeLeonard co-founded the exchange with Dale. “It's just remarkable how it's growing every year. Even my wife, God bless her soul, she just passed away, she got to use it. So, the Good Lord paid me back.”
When people are done with the equipment, they're asked to return it to the Knights of Columbus so they can continue to pay it forward. “I think it's the greatest program in the world,” Dale said. “It's helped so many people.”
For more information:
Knights of Columbus Risen Christ Council #12854
3100 E Hubbard Rd.
Meridian, ID 83642