On July 13, 2012, Joni and Friends Wheels for the World plans to hold a wheelchair collection at the Joni and Friends International Disability Center. The event will be held from 1p.m. to 7 p.m. and anyone, from individuals to businesses, can bring wheelchairs, collapsible walkers, aluminum crutches, and canes for donation. Joni and Friends volunteers and local Chair Corps representatives will be available to accept the items. After the articles are restored, they will be sent to the less fortunate all over the world.
“This occasion can provide the opportunity to truly benefit someone in need,” said Joni and Friends President Doug Mazza. “Many people in other countries do not have the financial or even physical access to disability aids such as wheelchairs, and this lack of access can leave the person stranded within their homes, missing out on many of life’s opportunities.”
The Wheels for the World outreach brings relief to those with disabilities in many of the poorest nations in the world. The donated articles, after being refurbished at a Joni and Friends Restoration Center, are sent overseas accompanied by a trained professional to personally fit the chairs to the recipients. A vital part of the Joni and Friends organization, the Christian Institute on Disability is managing the wheelchair drive in collaboration with Wheels for the World as a project of this summer’s Cause 4 Life interns. These young people are learning about the issues affecting the disability community and how they can provide assistance and encourage others to do so.
“I’m so proud of our interns this summer, who really have a vision and a passion for disability ministry,” Mazza said. “We have several very special young people involved this year, and I know they are working hard to make this wheelchair drive a success.”
The interns will be assisted by Joni and Friends volunteers, including members of the Joni and Friends Chair Corps, a nationwide network of volunteers involved in collecting wheelchairs for Wheels for the World. Typical wheelchair drives usually collect anywhere from 50 – 100 wheelchairs. Several folding walkers, aluminum crutches and walking canes are usually collected, as well, and will similarly be refurbished for use overseas. As part of their learning experience this summer, the Cause 4 Life interns will follow the progress of the wheelchairs from the collection to their trip to the Restoration Center at the Taft Correctional Institution, and then finally – once they have been restored to like new condition – to their international recipients. This process typically takes from four to eight months. Finally, not only do the recipients receive a new wheelchair, they are also presented a Bible by one of the Wheels for the World volunteers. Through the presentation of the gospel, a spiritual as well as a physical need is met by Joni and Friends.
Donation drop-off will be at the eastside parking lot of the Joni and Friends Disability Center at 30009 Ladyface Court, Agoura Hills, Calif., 91301, from 1 – 7 p.m. Volunteers will assist in unloading and labeling the wheelchairs, and can provide a tax-deductible receipt to those making the donations. Anyone with questions about the wheelchair drive may call Selena Wong at 818-707-5664 x1760.