STONE MOUNTAIN, GA – Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC), a non-profit organization providing over $10 million annually in DME and supplies to the disabled community, received a donation of more than $83,000 in HME from two Atlanta area Rotary clubs.
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 HME to the clubs, which were then delivered to FODAC 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,” stated Chris Brand, president and CEO of FODAC. “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 personal way.”
FODAC collects, repairs and redistributes over 5,000 HME items to the public each year at little or no cost to recipients. Much of the HME FODAC 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.
Realizing FODAC’s need for donated equipment, as well as the public need for a solution as to where to recycle the equipment, two metro Atlanta Rotary clubs sponsored HME collection drives for the organization. The North Atlanta Rotary Club held its first DME collection project for FODAC in August of 2013, during which it collected equipment worth over $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 over $77,000, a record for any organization’s single collection drive in FODAC’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 local churches and other community contacts. We hope this program has raised awareness of FODAC and its mission, and will continue to drive donations.”
The Rotary Club of Sandy Springs also stepped in and offered to establish and manage a permanent HME 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, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta). The recycling program was launched during Earth Week in April 2014, 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 FODAC’s warehouse in Stone Mountain.
“We hope this is the first of many deliveries to FODAC,” stated 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 DME, 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 FODAC. A pioneer in re-use, FODAC keeps 200 tons of materials out of landfills each year by refurbishing and reissuing over 400 HME items every month, and is recognized nationally for best practices in recycling and reuse of DME.
“Our goal is to take this equipment out of the landfills and into the hands of those who really need it,” added 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 HME to FODAC can visit http://www.fodac.org/how-to-help/donate/medical-donation/ for a list of donation sites, or call 770.491.9014 to arrange pick-up.