Local Red Cross HELP program desperately seeking new home

The Canadian Red Cross Health Equipment Loan Program (HELP) is going to be forced to close at the end of the month if a new location can’t be found.

Liza Soukoroff, program assistant at Canadian Red Cross for the Southern Interior, says that the service is vital in this area given that it supports close to 400 people per year.

“If you ask any of the therapists or physiotherapists, they can tell you exactly how vital this service is to the community,” Soukoroff says.

“So without having a location to operate out of, then there’s going to be an interruption of service that people are going to feel.”

She adds that people rely the equipment the service provides.

“We have quite a few elderly people who have gone for hip replacements… and there’s five or six pieces of equipment that they need for three months or more for their recovery,” she says.

“So for them to have to find an alternate source, is pretty prohibitive for them.”

It’s prohibitive in the financial aspect, as well the ease of finding the equipment.

The deadline for moving out of the current location, the Hardy View Lodge, is Feb. 28, and is due to heating issues.

“We’re on a very short timeline of finding a suitable location,” Soukoroff says.

“And suitable meaning being accessible for clients that come in who have mobility issues, they can’t do stairs or anything to come in and get their equipment.”

The other problem is they need enough space.

The program loans equipment such as

wheelchairs and crutches to those who may not be able to afford paying the rental fees.

The program operates on donation.

Individuals or groups who may have space to donate are encouraged to contact the Red Cross. More information on HELP can be found at www.redcross.ca/bcsoutherninterior.