Volunteers help open Medical Loan Closet

Written by Bruce Lindner. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on May 05, 2021 with No Comments

Our volunteers are essential to so many of our programs and that is especially true for our new initiative: a Medical Loan Closet.

We began working on our plan last year when Westchester Township Trustee Suzanne Philbrick connected with us. She wanted to offer community members vital medical devices to improve seniors’ lives. 

A medical loan closet provides such items as non-motorized wheelchairs, walkers, canes, crutches, shower/tub benches, toilet seats/chairs, grab bars, reachers, bed rails, blood pressure monitors or adults diapers, liners or pads. We began collecting these donated items, but still needed volunteers to help us clean and organize.

That is where Jill Pfister and Donna DeRuntz came in! This duo has helped ensure that the closet is easily maneuverable and items are clean and ready to go.

Anyone in need of these items or if you have anything to donate, contact us at 219-464-9736, Ext. 216, to make arrangements to drop them off or pick up as our offices are still closed to the public.

We are especially in need of non-motorized wheelchairs, as these items go quickly. 

Energy Assistance Winding Down

There is still time to apply for the Energy Assistance Program, which wraps up mid-May. The program has continued this season with no-contact options for the application process.

EAP is an income-eligible program to help those struggling to pay their energy bills. When participants qualify, the payment is electronically paid to the appropriate energy company.

Those seeking to apply can download a packet from our website, print it out, fill it out and leave it in the drop box in the PCACS lobby. Our team has packets available already printed out to be picked up and our volunteers and staff members are available via phone to answer any questions. Call 219-464-9736, Option 1. 

To apply fully online, go to: https://ihcda.rhsconnect.com.

As a reminder, individuals issued a disconnect notice should make other arrangements with their energy company while waiting for the application to process. 

Food Box Update

As a distribution site for the Food Bank of NWI’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program, we help our seniors receive food essentials. During the pandemic, our bus drivers stepped up to deliver the boxes directly to seniors’ doorsteps!

Now that our transportation program is moving back up to pre-pandemic levels, our drivers no longer have the extra free time to do the food box deliveries. Program participants are required to pick up their boxes once again on the second Tuesday or Wednesday of the month between 10:00 a.m. and noon or 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. at our offices, 1005 Campbell St. 

When you arrive, ring the doorbell and we will provide you with your box or assist with carrying it out to your vehicle. We will still call to remind you of the pick-up times each month.

The program is for seniors ages 60 and over and is federally funded. Each box contains grains, vegetables, fruit, high-protein items, juice, shelf-stable and a block of cheese. To participate, seniors must meet residential and income guidelines. 

COVID Relief Funds

Our team is still working to connect community members in need with funds provided by United Way of Porter County. If you had a hardship occur in 2020 and it was a direct result of the COVID pandemic, you may be eligible for assistance.

Call us to receive an application and go over eligibility requirements: 219-464-9736, Option 5.

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About Bruce Lindner

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle.  Bruce Lindner has worked in the not-for-profit world for more than 25 years and has been executive director of Porter County Aging and Community Services for five. A native of the Region, he was raised in Portage and he graduated from Valparaiso University. You can call him at 219-464-9736 or e-mail at bhlindner@frontier.com.

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