The equipment was collected in two separate community service projects by the Rotary Club of North Atlanta and the Rotary Club of Sandy Springs, who each held collection drives in May, encouraging the community to donate gently used home medical equipment to the clubs, which were then delivered to the nonprofit for refurbishment and redistribution.
“Recent changes in healthcare and benefits programs have left significant gaps in coverage for many people with short and long-term disabilities,” said Chris Brand, president and CEO of the nonprofit. “Our waiting list for equipment remains filled and our inventory is under constant pressure. As collection partners in these equipment drives, both North Atlanta and Sandy Springs Rotarians helped us provide critical daily living aids for the disabled community while showing that ‘Rotary Cares’ in a very personal way.”
The nonprofit collects, repairs and redistributes more than 5,000 home medical equipment items to the public each year at little or no cost to the recipient. Much of the supplies to the disabled community comes via donations, with a large amount coming from individual donors, who are looking to provide a second life to items like wheelchairs, crutches and shower benches that are no longer being used.
The North Atlanta Rotary Club held its first collection project for FODAC in August 2013, during which it collected equipment worth more than $27,000. Building on the success of the first collection drive, the club decided to repeat the event in May of this year, this time collecting equipment valued at more than $77,000, a record for any organization’s single collection drive in the nonprofit’s 25-year history.
“A main part of Rotary membership is service to the community,” said Jon Yaeger, president-elect of the Rotary Club of North Atlanta. “We appreciate the efforts of the collection team, especially Broc Fisher, who rallied all our members to promote the event through their local churches and other community contacts. We hope this program has raised awareness of FODAC and its mission, and will continue to drive donations throughout the year.”
The Rotary Club of Sandy Springs also stepped in and offered to establish and manage a permanent home medical equipment collection site. The club obtained and customized a bright blue trailer that was installed at a site at Morgan Falls Overlook Park in Sandy Springs. The recycling program was launched during Earth Week in April, in partnership with Keep North Fulton Beautiful, with a week-long collection event to promote the permanent location to the surrounding community residents and businesses. The club delivered its first trailer-load of equipment at the end of May, to the nonprofit’s warehouse in Stone Mountain.
“We hope this is the first of many deliveries to FODAC,” said Fran Farias, community service director, Rotary Club of Sandy Springs. “Our plan is to keep the collection site at Morgan Falls to provide a place for Sandy Springs residents to recycle [home medical equipment], but we also want to promote the trailer to other organizations as a mobile resource to host their own collection drives for FODAC.”
Items collected in both drives included crutches, canes, walkers, braces, air casts, manual and power wheelchairs (including footrests), medical supplies, bathroom equipment, grab bars, children’s adaptive equipment and other assistive technology — much of which might have ended up in landfills were it not for the nonprofit. A pioneer in re-use, the nonprofit keeps 200 tons of materials out of landfills each year by refurbishing and reissuing more than 400 home medical equipment items every month, and is recognized nationally for best practices in recycling and reuse.
“Our goal is to take this equipment out of the landfills and into the hands of those who really need it,” said Brand. “We are proud of our Rotary partners and grateful for their support of our organization and its mission.”
Businesses and individuals wishing to donate used home medical equipment to the nonprofit can visit www.fodac.org/how-to-help/donate/medical-donation/for a list of donation sites, or call (770) 491-9014 to arrange pick-up.