The partnership came about after the friends group started a conversation with the American Red Cross to help relieve areas hurt by natural disasters. The Red Cross, however, did not have the access to funding and directed the friends’ group efforts to the state agency. The partnership brought together in 2012, will also provide training workshops to provide practical knowledge of home medical equipment and the needs of disabled residents.
“FODAC saw the opportunity to help with disaster relief after Katrina,” organization President and CEO Chris Brand said. “Part of our goal with this partnership is to help GEMA meet FEMA guidelines.
Typically, the state agency coordinates with the local communities and does not do any purchasing of products. With this partnership the state agency purchases any medical relief equipment needed and has the ability to store it in the friends’ group Stone Mountain facility. This allows the state agency to better accommodate those with disabilities.
“Partnerships are key,” GEMA Planning Manager Angela Barton said. “At GEMA, we are always looking to build friendships. FODAC provides another piece to the structure we already have in place.”
The partnership with the friends group provides the state agency a connection to the Pass It On center. Pass It On is a federally funded group at Georgia Tech that provides assisted technology. This gives the friends’ organization a database to know those who are in need.
In the Stone Mountain facility is a warehouse that contains medical equipment and a repair shop. The friends’ group cleans each piece of equipment that comes through. This is the warehouse in which GEMA has the ability to store hospital beds, food supplies and much needed relief equipment.
The friends’ group works to help those of all ages with disabilities to gain mobility and independence. The nonprofit organization provides $10 million annually in home modifications and medical equipment. It has several partnerships throughout the country. Besides gifts from the community, the group receives funding through an onsite thrift store.
Both the state agency and the friends’ group are partners of the Emergency Preparedness Coalition for Individuals with Disabilities and Older Adults.