SAN ANTONIO – A local nonprofit is in desperate need of one thing that could change the lives of hundreds of people.
“Wheelchairs. Hands down. Wheelchairs,” says Denise Bennett from Project MEND.
They’re the nonprofits most requested item and the hardest to keep in stock.
“The biggest obstacle is just people holding onto them,” Bennett says.
Project MEND takes all kinds used medical equipment, refurbishes and sanitizes each item, and gives them to people who need it. All you need is a doctor’s prescription and a $20 application fee.
“Veterans don’t pay anything for their services,” Bennett adds.
Right now when people need wheelchairs, Project MEND can only fulfill 51% of requests.
“We are certainly not happy with that number,” Bennett says. “We have about eight wheelchairs lined up and they’re already spoken for, so we’re down to the bottom of the barrel.”
For most people, buying a wheelchair out of pocket is not an option. Even with insurance, the wheels of health care turn slowly.
“If you receive Medicare or Medicaid – and some insurance companies, for that matter – it can take three to five months to receive the equipment that you need,” Bennett says.
She hopes if you have a wheelchair you don’t need, you’ll roll it through Project MEND’s doors.
“No one wants to be trapped on a couch all day, in a chair all day, in a hospital bed all day,” Bennett says. “They want to be able to move around. They want to be able to leave their home.”
If you have a wheelchair to donate, bring it to Project MEND’s warehouse near The Pearl at 1201 Austin Street. The nonprofit also takes financial donations.
By EMILY BAUCUM