Wheel chairs are in short supply in South America and Rotary Clubs throughout the Central Valley are working to ease the suffering for crippled children in countries like Guatemala, Peru and El Salvador to name a few.
Two past Rotary district governors, Don Murphy and Nick Masscitelli, from Modesto went to the Ripon Rotary Club’s regular meeting Wednesday noon at Spring Creek Golf and Country Club to ask their fellow Rotarians for help in searching out used and abandoned chairs that can be refurbished and even to go with them on their international goodwill trips.
They have created a working organization called Hope Haven West with a phone number of 485-4553 and an email address of Hopehavenwest@gmail.com for anyone wanting to help on their project. Hope Haven West is a collection site for new or used mobility equipment and will refurbish wheelchairs for distribution to the disabled poor in developing countries.
Mascitelli told of his Modesto Sunrise Club’s warehouse where the chairs are being restored before being sent in shipping containers to those in need – mostly children – in countries where they have little support and where children are having to be tied into their old disabled chairs with towels to keep them from falling out.
He noted that Rotary has provided over 3,000 chairs to South American communities through Hope Haven West since the beginning of their program. Now they need manpower Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon to help repair the chairs as well as assemble new chairs they are buying through the monetary donations they are receiving.
Ripon Rotarians are being asked to pick up donated chairs in the community and to work in the Modesto warehouse and to accompany Rotary teams to South America to fit the children into their new chairs at hospitals, schools and community centers.
Walkers and crutches are also in demand in addition to the wheelchairs, they pointed out with their theme “providing dignity through mobility.”