Laura Cannon-Singer spearheaded the founding of St. Louis HELP and is an integral force in the success of the whole operation. Laura, a successful business woman, read about a North Dakota volunteer program that delivered used wheelchairs to the elderly in rural communities. Knowing most home medical supplies and equipment end up rusting in landfills, Laura decided there must be a way to salvage them in St. Louis for reuse by needy people. By August of 2008, she had collected 60 items and distributed 23 of them out of her garage in her spare time. She quit her job and founded St. Louis HELP.
Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies don’t always cover the cost of renting or buying home medical equipment that people so desperately need to live independently but cannot afford to rent or purchase. Often people are left with inadequate equipment causing further stress on an already taxing situation. Even more frustrating, Hospitals and medical facilities are constantly cycling through equipment and discarding items that are no longer of purpose. Landfills overflow with medical supplies and equipment that could be vitally important to people trying to make do with and manage their illness.
St. Louis HELP (Health Equipment Lending Program) was founded to connect people with various illnesses in need of medical supplies with recycled equipment and other necessary materials. The program provides free use of donated wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, shower chairs, tub benches, grab bars, portable commodes, hospital beds, lift chairs, stair lifts, gait belts, van lifts, pediatric equipment and more, for as long as necessary, to any person, caregiver or family that needs it. All of the recycled materials have been cleaned and repaired by a team of volunteers who work tirelessly to provide these things to those who need it most. St. Louis HELP provides immediate tangible aid that rescues thousands from a life of dependence and immobility or simply helps them maintain their dignity by making physical challenges easier. On top of that, the program is helping divert tons of used equipment from wasting away in a dirty landfill to assisting those in needy places.
Dozens of local volunteers have enlisted with St. Louis HELP and are now participating in one of the most meaningful efforts they have ever encountered. Some volunteers began as recipients of equipment or supplies but are now giving back to the very cause that helped them regain their independence and their health. The organization has established a network of local health organizations that can either donate surplus equipment generating a sufficient supply of materials. In 2013 St. Louis HELP loaned 4,330 medical items valued at a total of $1,267,470 and an additional 13.5 tons of equipment and supplies was shared with partner charities valued at $892,713. St. Louis HELP is able to do all this by leveraging the devoted volunteers and partners they have in order to meet the needs of any person dealing with health issues.
St. Louis HELP creates a safety net for the uninsured, the underinsured, and individuals lacking the coverage needed. Keep updated with St. Louis HELP and find ways to help this incredible cause by visiting their website http://stlhelp.org/
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