One of Independent Living Resource Center’s most successful programs is its Medical Equipment Recycling Network. For 16 years, ILRC has been accepting donations of medical equipment from people who no longer need it and giving it to people who do. ILRC is a nonprofit agency that provides a variety of services to people with disabilities in Wichita and south-central Kansas.
The Medical Equipment Recycling Network started as a joint project among the Kansas Department on Aging, the Wichita Downtown Rotary Club, and the former St. Joseph Medical Center. During its first year, beginning in August 1993, the recycling program was housed in the Guadalupe Clinic, a medical clinic for people without medical insurance. Additional sites were established at churches, social services agencies, a dialysis clinic, and with individuals in the Wichita community.
In the summer of 1994 ILRC assumed responsibility for MERN and the program was consolidated to one location. ILRC provides funding, staffing and storage space for MERN.
“When someone has a disability, access to things like walkers and adaptive bathroom equipment can mean the difference between independence and having to rely on someone else,” said Brian Ramsey, who coordinates the program form ILRC. “Our MERN program offers people a way to get old walkers and wheelchairs they no longer need out of their basement or garage, and to help people who really need it,” Ramsey said.
ILRC is currently seeking donations of new or used equipment in good repair. Of particular need are adaptive bathroom equipment such as shower chairs, commodes and transfer benches. Also needed are crutches, front-wheel walkers and four-wheel walkers.
Anyone, regardless of income, may borrow equipment from MERN. Those seeking to borrow equipment should call 942-6300 ext. 209 to check on availability. Medical equipment donations may be dropped off at ILRC, 3033 W. 2nd St. North in Wichita, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.
For more information about Independent Living Resource Center and their Medical Equipment Recylcing Network, visit them online at http://ilrcks.org/programs-services/medical-equipment-recycling-network.