THE LENDING ROOM, INC.
While the Lending Room has been temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our volunteers continue to do the work of angels behind the scenes. This is a story from our dedicated volunteer Charlie who continues to amaze us with how willing he is to reach out to help others.
Yesterday, for the first time I met 8 year old Rhett, my close neighbor. He was born with debilitating cerebral palsy and I had never seen him. I barely knew the family but they had borrowed my lawn mower. It was his 8th birthday so I made sure that fire trucks and ambulances cruised by with lights and sirens and stopped to talk to him. Oh, the family had been alerted and he was outside along with about three blocks of neighbors who sang Happy Birthday. What a time!! Brett was delighted and later told his parents that it was the best birthday ever.
Within safe social distance, I got to know Brett and the family a little better. His father is a functional but disabled veteran. When I saw this fairly vibrant 90-pound 8 year old in his wheel chair I asked his parents if they thought he could handle a power chair. They thought so, and I decided that HE WOULD GET ONE, at my expense.
Now, the rest of the story: Early today, I was contacted by our wonderful volunteer Peggy who informed me that Verna Smith had a chair and other equipment to donate because her husband had passed away on Friday, 3 DAYS AGO! Also, Verna was anxious to have the equipment picked up right away.
Bottom line: I picked up the power chair (with functional batteries!) about 4 this afternoon and took it directly to Rhett's home. My conditions to the parents were to let him check it out under their watchful eye and in a couple of days if it seemed to be workable, I would sign it out to them. I also counselled Rhett on speed, limits, safety, etc. Well, within two minutes, this handicapable young man knew more about the chair than I did. After a few passes up and down his driveway, he was following me across his grassy lawn!
Needless to say, I could not take it back if I tried. An hour after I left, his Mom texted me that he was chasing squirrels and picking flowers. This, the first time he had EVER had mobility in his life.
But wait, my name is Charlie and there is more human drama. The family who donated today's equipment is the same Smith family who in November donated the 30 foot ramp that our volunteer Philip and I disassembled and installed at the home of a family with a delightful 8-year old daughter WHO WAS ALSO BORN WITH A SEVERE DISABILITY. I know Mrs. Smith well and have already told her the details of the above. She gave me a heart rendering response.
Almost overwhelming that The Lending Room has been given the wonderful opportunity to significantly impact these two 8-year olds and their families.
This story was too good to go untold. PLEASE, it is not me bragging, but pleased that because of my association with the Lending Room and all its wonderful people, I sure do get some fantastic opportunities, and none better than today.
Grand Opening Celebration
On May 29, 2019 The Lending Room officially celebrated it's Grand Opening at the 616B Parris Island Gateway location. It was a warm spring evening with a nice breeze when we welcomed the community to stop in to see our new facility. It was through the generosity of so many organizations and private individuals that having a "new home" has become a reality. With several new volunteers added to the family and several old (well seasoned) volunteers still providing guidance, The Lending Room begins a journey in providing gently used medical equipment to Beaufort and beyond by opening during designated daily shifts. With 20 volunteers the organization is as strong and vital as ever. Please feel free to stop in and see our facility. The hours of operation and contact information are posted under the "contact tab" above. We look forward to meeting you!
Beaufort and Beyond
The Lending Room serves the Beaufort community as it has done for 40+ years but in the past few years has joined an outreach program that supports overseas missions groups. So far The Lending Room has sent surplus equipment to Haiti, Liberia and Egbe, Nigeria. When doctors send reports of the “containers arriving” it is with such pride knowing we have been able to contribute and touch the lives of individuals around the world. Crutches, wheel chairs, commodes, soft goods and walkers are among the items sent. The Lending Room has also been able to provide non-electric hospital beds to hospitals overseas. What a wonderful way to continue to serve through the gifts of others who carry on such good work. See the excerpt from a doctor at the hospital below:
“A week ago Sunday, the long awaited container for the States arrived. The hospital and staﬀ have been waiting for this container of supplies for months! They expected it 2 weeks ago, but of course the truck that was carrying it broke down several times between Lagos and Egbe. And, of course, it shows up right around 8:30 in the morning as everyone is getting ready for church! So, last Sunday, everyone took oﬀ their Sunday clothes, put on pants and t-shirts and spent all day unloading the container and sorting the boxes into various sections of the warehouse. The missionaries were pleased to see clothes, home supplies, books, school supplies, and even some furniture that they had packed over 6 months ago. The hospital now has a solar unit and panels that will have to be installed, the wards, lab and OR have supplies that they are unable to obtain in Nigeria. Praise God for donations, containers, and ships, and for all the hard work of those who packed this container in Florida and sent it to Egbe. For those who have never done overseas mission work, you will never know how thrilling it is to have a container from home arrive; even if it is on a Sunday! Celebration time!”
Charlie’s stories of 2018 (a dedicated Lending Room volunteer):
Good morning. You will receive two messages. One is my thoughts about our services and the other is some anecdotes about my experiences in delivering or picking up equipment.
I am privileged to be a member of our little group. I have been blessed with the health and ability for material pick-up and delivery and these experiences make me feel that I am making a difference in our community. Since my duties involve personal interaction and going into homes, I have a lot of physical contact with those we serve.
Philosophical and objectively:
A. By arranging for the pick-up of donated medical equipment, we provide a very real service. When no longer in use it can be a storage problem and in many cases a painful reminder of a deceased loved one. Donors feel good knowing that the equipment can now be used by others and they entrust The Lending Room to facilitate this.
B. For those who need medical equipment, it is sometimes out of reach or not available through insurance or government programs. I am pleased that The Lending Room does not care, nor ask. If we have it available and someone needs it, we provide it. I like that.
A few of my experiences in delivering medical equipment to someone in need or picking up a donation of such equipment:
A. A few years ago we were contacted by a lady from the Macon, Georgia area who was travelling to Hilton Head for a family vacation. A Hoyer Lift was required to move her disabled husband from the vehicle to a chair, from chair to bed, and to the toilet. Bringing their lift from home was impractical so they asked The Lending Room for assistance. I was able to pre-position a Hoyer Lift at their hotel. They used it during their stay and I retrieved the lift and returned it to stock in our warehouse. Because we exist, this family was able to make the trip and enjoy some respite from their daily hardships at home. Naturally, they were very grateful and unfortunately the husband is now deceased. Thanks to Carolyn Roos for coordinating this action and providing me an opportunity for a feel-good experience.
B. A few months ago a family requested a hospital bed for an elderly lady with Alzheimer’s. When I delivered the bed I was introduced, "Mama, this Charlie and he has your new bed". I walked over and gave her a hug and for a few moments we had a very lucid conversation and she introduced me to her granddaughter, also named Charley. After I had brought the bed inside and set it up, I stopped to see her again and just like earlier, she had a normal conversation with me and thanked me for the bed. From the reaction of family members present, this was unusual and they let me know it. I left that home with a warm heart and warm tears running down my cheeks.
C. In February 2018 I was referred to a family need in Bluffton. A gentleman was struck by a car and suffered multiple and severe injuries. They could only bring him home from the hospital if a hospital bed, wheel chair, and Hoyer Lift were available. I delivered the needed equipment right away and it is still in use. In many instances this equipment would have been provided from other sources, but not in this case. I feel that in this situation The Lending Room really lived up to its calling by serving this gracious and grateful Uruguayan family and enabling them to have their husband and father at home for his extended recovery.
D. Just a few weeks ago, a family requested that we pick up equipment which had been in use by a deceased family member. When I made contact to arrange this, it was requested that it be done right away. The person died on Monday, I picked up the equipment on Wednesday, and the funeral was on Friday all in that same week. This is not an unusual situation and is at least the third time since the beginning of this year that the house was cleared prior to the funeral. A photo of this pick up is attached, all from one room of the house. As stated before, I find that this service is very meaningful to those we serve, equally as important as providing for those who obtain the items later.
Independence on wheels
Two weeks ago, a woman called looking for a wheel chair. I told her we only had one wheelchair available in our storage and it was missing the foot rests. She explained that she was a double amputee and didn’t need foot rests. Her old chair seat had begun to rip away from the chair frame and insurance wouldn’t provide her another for at least a year since she had only had the chair for 2 ½ years. The next morning, when she met at our storage facility, she was able to take home a wheel chair in fairly good shape that would allow her to manage until she was able to secure one through insurance down the road.
A proud Moment
We recently got a call from a woman seeking a transport wheel chair, a commode and a shower seat. Her son was graduating as a Marine and his grandparents wanted to make the journey to watch. With our help there was a wonderful celebration and family reunion. She was able to return the equipment the following week in order to enable others to have access to it through The Lending Room.
A deep breath
Recently a woman called asking if we had a CPAP machine. She had one that had broken and insurance would not pay because she didn’t meet the criteria of # of times she stopped breathing during the test period. These machines range from $800-1,400 and she could not afford to pay out of pocket for a second one. The Lending Room was able to provide her with a gently used machine that she took to her doctor to have checked. She was able to use it that night when she went to sleep.
Spring Clean for Joy
WooHoo......It's that time again to begin filling up your JOY Box(es) and bringing them here for the 2015 Fall Clean for JOY event.....a yard sale where everything is FREE!
In case you haven't had an opportunity to participate in this semi-annual event, it's easy..... do your FALL cleaning of closets, drawers, garages, etc. and clear out those unused or unnecessary items that you have been storing or moving around for years 'just in case' you need it someday. It's time to move it along to someone who can use it now! So, you clear your clutter which brings you JOY and someone else receives something they can use which brings them JOY.....and voila...there is JOY everywhere!
JOY received until 5:00 Friday, October 16th
Event Dates: Saturday, October 17th from 7:30 am - 10:00 am
Beaufort Charities continues their good work despite the pandemic
October 2020 the Lending Room received a donation from Beaufort Charities even though their fundraising efforts were put on hold due to the virus. This was a much needed gift during such challenging times. Thank you for your continued belief in what we do..
Beaufort Charities recognized The Lending Room with a donation
The Lending Room is closer to securing a permanent home. With your gracious donation we are able to continue our mission to serve northern Beaufort County and beyond. The Lending Room is blessed to have such community support.
Beaufort Charities rallies to help outfit our new space:
On Tuesday Oct 15, 2019 Beaufort Charities gave The Lending Room financial support to help outfit our new home with office equipment, shelving, air conditioning and more. We are able to retain our volunteers and serve the Beaufort community with daily shifts because of their help. Please visit our contact tab to learn of our hours and stop by to meet our volunteers and get what you need.
New Power Wheel Chair
At 33, Beaufort Co. nursing home resident lost his independence. Then strangers stepped in
Bradley Cummings, a 33-year-old resident at the Bayview Manor assisted living facility in Beaufort, S.C., was gifted a new, power wheelchair for free. Allan Snyder (third from left), owner of Independent Again, orchestrated the operation with the help of Carolyn Roos, a staff member at the nonprofit organization the Lending room, and Michael Duda, a local sales representative for a power wheelchair manufacturer. Submitted
Updated March 21, 2018 03:05 PM
Like clockwork, Bradley Cummings starts off his day by rolling down the hallways of Bayview Manor nursing home in Beaufort and making it a point to tell each staff member good morning.
In spite of his wheelchair, Cummings, 33, remains active all day. When he’s not chatting with the secretary at the front desk, he can be found relaxing outside or — more often than not — partaking in whatever activity is offered in the activity room that day.
From the cooks to the nurses to the administrators and custodians, everyone at Bayview Manor knows Cummings.
"He’s independent and very social, so he's out and about most of the day," said Tanisha Magwood, his unit supervisor at Bayview Manor.
Independence was always a constant for Cummings, but twice he has been forced to overcome enormous obstacles in his path.
The first hurdle came when Cummings lost the strength required to move on his own and the second came when the his last vehicle for autonomy — his wheelchair — stopped working. The first time Cummings found a solution himself by moving into a nursing home, but the next time the answer to his problems found him.
Cummings is younger than the average Bayview Manor resident by at least 30 to 40 years, but that doesn't stop him from bonding with the other residents.
"This is my family. I met a lot of older people that I can talk to," Cummings said. "I get to learn (from them.)"
Cummings said the most important thing he's learned from the older residents is respect.
"They’ve adopted him as their son," Magwood said. "Everyone looks out for him and takes a special interest in him, since he's the youngest one.”
Cummings grew up in Hardeeville and by about the age of 6, he began having trouble balancing and would fall unannounced.
Doctors performed surgery on both Cummings' calves, but the problems persisted. Cummings’ sister, Natasha Murray, believes he was misdiagnosed then.
By the time he got to Jasper County High School, Cummings would hold onto the walls to stabilize himself while walking down the hallway. When graduation rolled around, Cummings decided not to walk in the ceremony for fear of falling on his way to accepting his diploma.
As years went on, Cummings grew increasingly more weak and continued to struggle while walking.
Eventually, in 2010, doctors performed an MRI and discovered Cummings suffered from both multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy.
Muscular dystrophies, also referred to as MD, are a group of genetic diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass.
Multiple sclerosis, more commonly referred to as MS, is an often disabling disease of the central nervous system that cuts off the flow of information between a person’s brain and body.
Around the time that Cummings was first diagnosed, he was living in his own apartment, working as a security guard in a gated community and later as a clerk at Goodwill and pushing his wheelchair back and forth to Walmart to pick up groceries.
But as time went on, Cummings could no longer lift himself from his bed onto his wheelchair by himself and he realized he was in need of further assistance.
"He’s always been a very independent person and very responsible when it comes to finances," Murray said. "But it seemed like once he was diagnosed, the progression took effect really quick."
Murray said Cummings’ decision to admit himself into an nursing home was all his doing.
"He decided, especially when he lost the ability to move on his own, that he needed around-the-clock care, so he signed himself up," Murray said.
Although many people with MS remain able to walk, Cummings suffers from the more severe symptoms, such as slurred speech, tremors, troubles swallowing and a full loss of mobility. His left arm is also amputated above the elbow.
Mentally, however, he’s as strong as ever.
"I always say, his body may be weak, but his mind is not," Murray said.
‘The worst feeling in the world’
Cummings’ primary source of independence comes from his electric wheelchair — which he can operate on his own and allows him to get where he wants when he wants. But last year, he found out what reality would be like without his chair.
In October, his wheelchair stopped operating properly and his only means to get around the facility was being pushed by staff in a manual wheelchair.
For about two months, Cummings was restrained in his mobility and was forced to ask someone to take him wherever he needed to go.
"It was miserable. I couldn't move at all," Cummings said. "When you can't move, it's the worst feeling in the world."
Wheelchairs like the one Cummings needs cost more than $20,000.
Medicare will not cover the cost of a chair while Cumming is in a skilled nursing home and neither Bayview Manor nor his family had the funds to buy a new one.
Looking for other alternatives, administrators at the nursing home took the chair to Allan Snyder, who owns Independent Again, a medical equipment company in Beaufort.
In spite of realizing Cummings' wheelchair was beyond repair, Snyder knew he was inclined to do something more for Cummings.
"This poor guy, with all his stuff going on, he’s got to be able to at least get around," Snyder said.
‘A sense of hope’
After explaining the situation to a local sales representative for a national power wheelchair company, Allan said he was informed about a program where the company donates demo products to community members in need.
Allan gathered recommendation letters from the Bayview staff, submitted all the necessary application materials and teamed up with the local nonprofit The Lending Room to help facilitate the operation.
Weeks later, Allan received the good news: Cummings had been chosen to receive the new, fully fashioned wheelchair for free.
Once it arrived, Allan personally worked on the chair to make sure it all functioned properly and fit Cummings' needs.
Cummings described his initial reaction simply: "Yayyy!"
Murray said the fact that the community, including some strangers, came together to help make the operation possible keeps her family optimistic.
"It gives us a sense of hope for him, because despite living in a nursing home, he’s still a young man," she said. "It’s a blessing for him to have that and to be able interact with people every day."
As for Murray, he’s back to roaming the halls in his wheelchair and using it to attend his favorite activity offered at the home — bingo.
100 Women Who Care
100WWC chose to support The Lending Room for a very generous gift of more than $13,000. This will help the organization to move forward in securing a new storage shed/building.