Often, we find that growing necessitates change. After helping more than 5,000 people, we are getting a feel as to what is most often needed by most of the people that we serve. Incontinence supplies and shower chairs are the most common, power wheelchairs are waaaaay down the list. So why were we spending so much time, money and resources on them? Because they are kinda cool and it's very hard for people to get them on their own. We have repaired and given away many power wheelchairs over the years, and they are a great blessing to the people who get them... for a while.
What we are finding is that new batteries do not, a new wheelchair make. Often, the equipment that is donated to us is 5, 10, or even 15 years old, and it's reliability is an unknown. Will it last for years, or will it just stop, leaving someone stranded? Will the person continuously be coming back to us to keep alive what was never designed to be used this long, using up time, energy and finances that could be better used elsewhere?
After much thought, discussion and prayer, we decided to stop dealing with power wheelchairs and scooters. While they will be missed by the 1% of our clients that needed them, we feel that by eliminating them, we will be better able to serve everyone else. We would much rather focus on what we can do now, than what we may do later.
So, if you see equipment sitting out behind the store that you want to part out, or even try to get running, please let us know and we will be happy to send them home with you.
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Rich Lindquist is Founder, President and Wheelchair Wrangler at North Beach Medical Equipment in Ocean Shores, WA.