Archives for posts with tag: wheelchair donations

Its not as interesting in the shop without the volunteer camaraderie and it has very quiet in the workshop this year, waiting for the right time to re-establish weekly volunteer wheelchair refurbishing opportunities. That time is NOW. Contact me via email using patrick@wheelsofhope.org if you are interested in helping with cleaning, small repairs and lubrication of our backlog of wheelchairs for overseas shipment to those in need in Thailand and Honduras.

Here’s what I’ve been up to until volunteer training begins again:

2021 has been the perfect opportunity to focus my work on the backlog of tilt-in-space (TIS) wheelchairs in need of more intricate and creative repair. These are the chairs that need more than just cleaning, small repairs and lubrication which our regular volunteers addressed. There is a great need for pediatric-sized wheelchairs and the TIS perfectly fill that need. They are designed to accommodate a child’s growth, but they can be made smaller and not as deep seated for the youngest children in need. Most of the chairs we have are 18″ to 20″ wide. But we are able to down-size them to 12″ to be given to the smallest child.

A child’s special wheelchair after TLC

To narrow the width, the five adjustable spacer bars are removed, made shorter and reinstalled. The seating area is made shallower by just moving the back supports forward. Then I modify the rigid seats and backs that are not custom molded and can be made smaller by cutting the plywood base and re-stapling the covering over the edges again.

Getting foot or leg rests (rigging) to use can be interesting. Some of the chairs never had them so creative things need to be done. Making rigging from different types of attachments and manufactures is challenging. Its nice when I just walk around the warehouse and find what will work just sitting on top of one of the other chairs or in some other odd place!

A children’s specialty wheelchair with newly adapted footrests

Last but not least are the wheels, tires and bearings. The tires are not very worn but do suffer from age. Cracks in the rubber treads and sidewalls will only last for so long. If they are really bad, I’ll try and replace them. It seems the wheel bearings pick up rug fibers and hair that gets inside the “sealed” bearing. These get soaked in cleaner and freed up and greased and re-installed. If they can’t be reworked, then they are replaced with good used ones.

Once the chair is reassembled and checked that it reclines and operates correctly, it is made as compact as possible for shipping and stretch wrapped. Lifting the chair on to and off the bench is difficult. These chairs can weigh as much as seventy pounds completed. So I have made a way to get them on and off with out injuring my back.

The back-saving lift I use to move the 70+ pound pediatric wheelchair
Stretch-wrapped children’s specialty wheelchairs staged for shipping

This is how I have been using my talent and this season of working solo, on loan from God. I am grateful for His giving me the abilities to work with Him to provide mobility to the least of the least.

There is a good inventory of regular wheelchairs just waiting to be reconditioned, but we need new young and healthy volunteers for that. (Our former group of retirees had served for over a decade and are well into their 80s, many with health issues of their own which the pandemic has only intensified.) Many of these chairs were used commercially and damaged. They need dismantled for usable parts and the rest of the chair prepared to be recycled for the steel. This would make a great home school or youth group project.

We continue our prayers for getting this vital ministry opportunity into the hearts and hands of younger people, new volunteers, new board members and leadership.

We are starting again in earnest to recondition equipment and share our need of volunteers, and ways younger folks can help make a difference in the lives of persons with disabilities world wide:

If you lead a youth group, and can come on a Saturday morning, we have acres of walkers that need checked for functionality: with the good ones getting any missing rubber feet and shrink wrapped for shipping and the broken ones set aside to strip for scrap metal. We also have lots of crutches that need paired, and tipped with missing rubber feet and wrapped as well.

Wheels of Hope donated crutches and walkers in need of sorting and reconditioning for shipment to those in need in Thailand or Honduras

If you like to pull things apart: we have some wooden racks that we wish to disassemble, to make room for another staging area that is closer to the shop.

If you want to learn how to recondition wheelchairs in the heated shop, we need a new team of a few younger volunteers to come in one day a week and start the restoration train going again. 

Wheels of Hope donated wheelchairs in need of reconditioning in 2021 and beyond


All has remained quiet at the warehouse over the last 18 months, as one Covid wave after another makes us reconsider recruiting a new team of retirees to volunteer. We were hopeful after so many we knew were vaccinated, but then break-through Covid redefined the whole concept of break-through … In September we lost a dear friend and long-time Wheels of Hope financial supporter to break-through Covid. And the new wrinkle of infections and spread among the fully vaccinated does influence what older retirees can safely do. We will not recruit the vulnerable … 

The photo below is telling: the date on the tag is when our team of faithful octogenarians last volunteered. After many had served since their early 70s … it all came to a screeching halt in March 2020. Who knew these dedicated volunteers, many in fragile states of health, would never be able to safely return?

The reconditioning date of this donated chair from the Akron Canton airport reads 2-20-20 … just about the last week our volunteers worked as a team.


The good news is we’re all tired of the isolation, and the warehouse is BIG … we have so much floor space one can almost get lost in the maze … so it truly is one of the safer places to visit and fellowship for younger, more healthy people.

Meanwhile, there have been plenty of specialty chairs to keep Patrick busy, although working alone. These complicated seating systems require more expertise, and Patrick never got time to fix them when he was managing volunteers, looking to supply our team with the basic chairs and parts and assisting them as needed.

So these 18 months have not been wasted.

We want to continue to be good stewards of every donated piece of equipment we receive, and can’t keep them waiting …

Please spread the word: Uncle Patrick needs your (?) TLC!

Our warehouse location is in Canton, Ohio on the second floor above The Stock Pile, 1387 Clarendon Ave SW, Canton, Ohio 44710.

E-mail patrick@wheelsofhope.org if you are interested in helping to set up a time. Thanks!

Wheels of Hope shipped a forty foot sea container to Thailand in July with over a 127 wheelchairs, 185 folding walkers, 35 rollators, 118 pair of crutches, 118 canes, 74 bedside commodes and many other durable medical
equipment (DME) related items. But this almost didn’t happen in time!

As the shipping date kept getting closer, we got a big donation from the maintenance man at Grace Baptist Church of Brunswick, Pat Wilkinson. He called asking if we needed wheelchairs. He has a contact with a drugstore chain that needed to dispose of 30 or so wheelchairs and other DME. I asked when do they need picked up? I would need to rent a truck to get that many. He responded that he would bring them to the warehouse! Yes, yes Lord!

The chairs were like new and had minor issues. Our Tuesday Volunteers were able to get them done very quickly! Thanks again Lord!!! And just a month be- fore the date Pat Wilkinson called again with a few more new chairs.

Help Came …

Helpers to the rescue: volunteers from load a sea container bound for The Wheelchair Project, our partner organization in Thailand
Helpers to the rescue: volunteers from area churches and youth groups load a sea container bound for The Wheelchair Project, our partner organization in Thailand

And at the very last minute, God also supplied a great team of young folks to load the container that warm Saturday July morning! We had volunteers from Maranatha Bible Church and Hope United Methodist Church in Akron, Mission View Church in North Canton, and other friends lend a hand. In the weeks leading up to loading day, I was being distracted in thoughts of having to load this container with just my wife and I … thank you Lord for all the hands that made my worrisome thoughts vanish! He knew our needs!

Help came for Wheels of Hope! Hats off to Rick Thompson, of Thompson Target, for all his connections, and providing lunch for the crew!

… and Help Was Given to the Helpless

Meanwhile, in Thailand, Joey and Jasmine Tell and The Wheelchair Project team continue to distribute our equipment to the neediest. We are fairly certain that one of the bariatric wheelchairs Patrick shipped was recently given away to a father with … twins!

Jasmine shared on October 24 “I love how God provided for the unexpected in Ratchaburi this week! … two sons in need of a wheelchair, but only one caregiver to push them. This father came to us and requested a single wheelchair big enough for both of his sons. They were a walk in, no ap- plication prior, and we hadn’t come prepared for their request, we thought. But then we found a wheelchair wide enough to fit both brothers together, and the joy they felt was so visible to all around. It may be unconventional, but it is what this family needed and we were thankful to provide help to this amazing father and his beloved sons.” Jasmine adds that “in Ratchaburi [we are] supported by the local church” who follows up with the patients to build a long term relationship of care and the love of Christ.

Twins receive a transport chair wide enough to share at The Wheelchair Project in northern Thailand.
Twins receive a transport chair wide enough to share at The Wheelchair Project in northern Thailand.

Thank you Tells and The Wheelchair Project, for building on the strategy first envisioned with Joey’s dad, Doug Tell, and the RICD Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital in 2000.

Hi Patrick and Lynda,

3/18/11 11:23 PM

Luc and I [Johannes] are really looking for funding opportunities for getting containers from Wheels of Hope this year. Luc was talking with a businessman who has helped us with transport in country and he consented to help with the containers. We have been so bold to ask for three containers and he agreed, so we praise the Lord.

Now we have not asked you if it would be possible for three containers to be sent from Wheels of Hope? We have been thinking of a time line of 1. Container be sent in April 2. Container in August and 3. Container in Oktober.

At the moment we do not have any standard wheelchairs left and a waiting list of 1600 applications! We would appreciate if we could discuss this time line with you as we will have to send in the request letter with the time line to our esteemed donor.

Blessings,
Luc Masschelein and Johannes Janzen
Wheels of Hope and Pioneers of Hope in Thailand

In the Book of Genesis in the Hebrew testament, God walks with Adam in the Garden and gives him and Eve dominion over the land, asking them to take care of….well, the whole planet basically. Since that time, humans have done good at points and done bad at points when it comes to gratefully and reverently caring for the world that was given to us.

“Reduce, Reuse, Recyle” has become the most current slogan for getting folks to consider their consumptive habits as humans, and while “recycle” seems to be the action most folks are paying attention to in that exhortation, “reuse” is a powerful action verb too.

When it comes to Wheels of Hope, we’re all about “reuse.”  Our mission of seeking wheelchair donations, repairing those wheelchairs, and then distributing them to the needy in third world countries as part of the bigger picture of showing them the love of Jesus, truly encapsulates that second “R” – Reuse – and adds a fourth “R” as well….Redemption. Those who donate to Wheels of Hope are helping to redeem the lives of the poor and broken in faraway places, as well as introducing them to the King of Kings who can truly redeem them in this life and for all eternity.

Won’t you join us in spreading the 4 “R”s with a support donation sometime soon? We know quite a few needy people who’ll never get the chance to meet you in this world, but will be grateful for the rest of their days for your help.

— Daiv