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The exterior of the new location for Wheelchair Help is at 515 East Street as seen Friday, Jan. 4, 2013. The new location is south of the parking garage behind the police station. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

The exterior of the new location for Wheelchair Help is at 515 East Street as seen Friday, Jan. 4, 2013. The new location is south of the parking garage behind the police station. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Wheelchair Help manager Christine Krieger sorts cushions for wheelchairs in their new, larger location at 515 East Street Friday, Jan. 4, 2013. The new location is south of the parking garage behind the police station. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Wheelchair Help manager Christine Krieger sorts cushions for wheelchairs in their new, larger location at 515 East Street Friday, Jan. 4, 2013. The new location is south of the parking garage behind the police station. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

A racing chair hangs at the end of an isle as Wheelchair Help manager Christine Krieger prepares to move empty boxes to another room at the new location at 515 East Street Friday, Jan. 4, 2013. The new location is south of the parking garage behind the police station. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Wheelchair Help manager Christine Krieger, left, works with her son Michael Mattox to sort cushions for wheelchairs in their new, larger location at 515 East Street Friday, Jan. 4, 2013. The new location is south of the parking garage behind the police station. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

A sign for Wheelchair Help hangs above numerous walkers that are on display at the new location at 515 East Street Friday, Jan. 4, 2013. The new location is south of the parking garage behind the police station. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)
Elkhart’s Wheelchair Help looks to improve service at new location

Posted on Jan. 5, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

ELKHART — The nonprofit organization Wheelchair Help has moved to 515 East St., south of the Elkhart Police Department parking lot.

“We have 20,000 square feet of display area now, which we needed, and all of it is wheelchair accessible,” said director Joe Lidy. “It also allows us better organization. It’s going to help us with people looking to volunteer much more easily.”

Distributing hundreds of wheelchairs over the past year, Wheelchair Help also assists clients in need of walkers and other supplies not covered by Medicare.

“We assist people with their mobility and home-accessibility needs,” said Lidy. “Elderly people are often very shy asking for help and sometimes do not even know what they need. We have assistance programs and we put them at ease.”

Programs such as loaners, budget assistance and subsidies can provide anything from a temporary wheelchair for someone recovering from surgery to more permanent means of mobility at little to no cost.

“Three-fourths of the time people cannot get what they need with Medicare and there seems to be a barcode on their head that tells them what they qualify for,” said Lidy. “We don’t look at the barcode.”

Privately funded and community supported, Wheelchair Help is always open to volunteers and donations.

“We welcome volunteers, and with the new location volunteering will be so much better,” said Lidy.

Wheelchair Help is also a part of two other programs: Wheelchair Help International, which provides assistance to Kyrgyzstan, and Silver and Gold, where nursing homes in Elkhart and St. Joseph counties are visited on Sundays with music from the past.

“People should feel free to call with any questions or concerns and we will do our best to help them,” said Lidy. “The people here are very dedicated.”

The organization is open from noon to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information call 295-2230, visit www.WheelchairHelp.org or email info@wheelchairhelp.org.