The Medical Equipment Bank evolved informally in the early 1980’s with various workers in senior related programs acquiring used wheelchairs and other assistive equipment. After gradually collecting these items they began building volume in their office corner and closets, so they began loaning the equipment out.
Soon thereafter, the Senior Providers group found a donated mini-storage and a volunteer, Shirley Thompson, to run the “Senior Providers Medical Equipment Bank” program. The Senior Providers is a loose group of people in the field who gather monthly to discuss like-issues. During the monthly meetings, Shirley would report to the Senior Providers, and our Council on Aging, the status of the bank; she and the Medical Equipment Bank acted as free agents.
Not being a 5013C, Senior Providers could not offer tax write-off, and “members” were not protected from liability and didn’t have many of the other benefits of a 5013c organization provides. Senior Providers considered dropping the program. During one of the monthly meetings in the late 1980’s, Rick Crawford, director of Thurston Mason Senior News, volunteered to take the Medical Equipment Bank under his wing and give it an official non-profit parent.
After a few years Shirley retired and the mini-storage space was no longer donated for free. The MEB was offered a 50 percent discount, but eventually this offer was also removed, forcing the Medical Equipment Bank to pay full price for the storage unit. As a result of the large hike in storage rent costs, the Medical Equipment Bank was moved to a less expensive and easier accessible location.
Currently Tim Burgman, owner of Woodlawn Funeral Home & Cremation, currently donates 1,200 square feet of his basement and provides utilities free of charge for the Medial Equipment Bank. Volunteers operate the Lacey bank on Monday,
Wednesday & Saturday 10am to 11am.