TUCKER, GA – Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC) and Goodwill of North Georgia (Goodwill) are joining forces to further amplify their impact in the metro Atlanta area. Made possible by a 2018 Collaborative Innovation Grant by The Home Depot Foundation, the nonprofits are working together to collect, repair and redistribute home medical equipment (HME) and assistive technology to empower people with disabilities.
The organizations have established ten new locations for collecting HME at Goodwill facilities. These items will be transported to FODAC, where they will be processed and repaired as needed, and then provided to those who could not otherwise obtain HME with private funding or benefits.
“The physical and emotional benefit of our services for those with disabilities cannot be overstated,” said Chris Brand, president and CEO of FODAC. “Something as simple as a wheelchair or a shower bench can totally change a person’s life by unlocking their independent spirit, allowing them to engage more fully in work, community and life. Partnering with Goodwill will enable us to collect more equipment and help more people in need.”
“The partnership is really a win-win,” said Summer Dunham, director of public relations for Goodwill. “Before this collaboration Goodwill didn’t have a great way to connect highly-specialized medical equipment or assistive technology to people who can actually benefit from those items. We also don’t have the infrastructure in place to repair medical equipment – that’s where FODAC’s expertise comes into play.”
Items commonly found on FODAC’s list of needs include: wheelchairs, hospital beds, Hoyer lifts, bedside commodes, walkers, rollators, knee walkers, transport chairs, shower chairs, suction machines, CPAP machines, nebulizers, oxygen concentrators, crutches and canes, reaching aids, gait belts, pediatric therapy equipment and bariatric equipment – items Goodwill thrift stores often receive as donated items. Ten metro-Atlanta Goodwill locations will donate to FODAC HME items they cannot sell:
- Grasslands (Alpharetta)
- Johns Creek
- Sandy Springs
- Stone Mountain
FODAC will again be present at Medtrade, scheduled for Oct 15-17, 2018, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. The organization will be accepting donations at the show.
Conference Connection Lifts Spirits
WATERLOO, IA – VGM’s annual Heartland Conference concluded on June 21. Although the nearly 1,000 guests who attended have long been back to their respective communities, the impact the conference has on VGM’s hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, and surrounding communities carried over just a few weeks later.
On Tuesday, July 3, Hannah Smith, who was one of six children who received specialized equipment during Heartland, was treated to an additional gift of a new vertical platform lift.
The lift, donated by Algona, Washington-based EZ-ACCESS, a supplier partner of VGM and Heartland attendee, will provide Hannah with safe access to her home.
“Hannah will finally be able to enter our home while using her wheelchair independently,” said Jenni Smith, Hannah’s mother. “Previously, an adult needed to push her wheelchair up our very steep, makeshift ramp. As she gets older, I envision her coming home off the school bus and being able to enter her own home without the help from others.”
VGM helped coordinate EZ-ACCESS’ donation. Installation was completed by Americans for Independent Living out of Waterloo assisted by VGM member Nucara, which delivered the lift to the Smiths’ home in Evansdale.
“VGM and its partners and members always look to step in for someone who might need just a little help,” said Jim Greatorex, vice president of VGM Live at Home, a VGM division dedicated to helping businesses that transform homes for safe living. “We’ve had a long-standing relationship with EZ-ACCESS. They are a family-owned company with a history of giving back, so when they saw young Hannah at our conference, they made this generous offer to the Smiths.”
For Hannah, who is nine years old and living with spinal muscular atrophy, the new lift provides additional independence. With a price tag of approximately $6,500 installed, the gift is something that has provided additional independence for Hannah and her family.
“As a parent with a child that has a progressive disability, you can never fully prepare yourself for all the support and special needs they may have,” said Jenni. “It seems like when her environment needs to be adjusted due to progressed weakness, it effects numerous aspects of her day-to-day living: bathing, walking, playing with friends, and even sitting up in bed. It is difficult at times as a parent to be able to provide all the adaptations she needs, especially financially. I am so thankful for VGM, Americans for Independent Living, and EZ-ACCESS for helping our daughter live a more independent life. It truly means so much to us.”