Demand continues to grow in central Alberta for medical equipment and daily living aids available from The Lending Cupboard.
Executive director Dawna Morey said the non-profit agency saw a 13 per cent increase in clients in its 2018-19 fiscal year.
“Last year, it was just over 10,000 clients. We’ve already reached the 6,000 mark and we’re only halfway through this fiscal year,” Morey said.
The charity will host its second annual winter luncheon, featuring guest speaker Arlene Dickinson from Dragons’ Den, on Monday at Cambridge Red Deer Hotel to raise money to provide equipment to those recovering from illness or surgery, for end-of-life care, extreme sport injuries, and for seniors.
She said about 1,700 pieces of equipment are lent out for free every month. Clients have been as young as 18 months and as elderly as 95 years old.
“We know it’s filling a huge gap. The mandate is about removing the barriers people would have for access to equipment.”
Morey said the winter luncheon also raises awareness about the full impact of The Lending Cupboard in the region. Providing access to equipment means patients spend less time in hospital and are less likely to return to hospital, she said.
Morey said in some cases, people can access funding to purchase their own equipment through a government cost-sharing program, but lending equipment is more cost effective.
“I think the model we offer is truly a cost savings to the government.”
The Lending Cupboard runs on a $500,000 operating budget, and the provincial government funds 28 per cent through Alberta Health Services.
Morey hoped government funding for The Lending Cupboard will be at least maintained.
Tickets for the winter luncheon are available at www.tickets.blackknightinn.ca or by calling 403-755-6626.