When I was hired as the Community Outreach Coordinator for Merchandise Outlet, the immediate challenge was to find homes for wheelchairs. Having grown up in the Merchandise Outlet family I was very familiar with the oddities of some of the items in the stores. But I certainly was not expecting the revolving door of wheelchairs and walkers!
After a couple of months, I'm happy to say that most of these wheelchairs and mobility devices have found local organizations that will put them to good use. So far we have been to Isabella County Commission on Aging, Otsego County Commission on Aging, two stops to the Clare County Senior Services, Area Agency of Northwest Michigan, Community Home and Health Services, Habitat for Humanity, and the Disability Network of Northern Michigan - whew!
The process of identifying organizations who could really use these mobility devices has been fascinating. Most of our wheelchairs have gone to Commission on Aging type organizations, who lend wheelchair and walkers to elderly community members. Some exciting new things I got to learn about was the Disability Network of Northern Michigan, which serves 17 counties in Northern Michigan! Their mission is to provide information, assistance, and support to people of all ages with a wide variety of disabilities.
Some wheelchairs and walkers were also given to Clare County Senior Services who have recently opened an adult day care facility, so caregivers can make sure their elderly or disabled loved ones are taken care of while they work. Habitat for Humanity also accepted our wheelchair donation. There I learned about a Habitat for Humanity program called Brush with Kindness, which restores rather than builds, and have created wheelchair ramps to make homes safer and more accessible.
While it feels fantastic to be able to help others with our very unique items, it also means some floor space has been cleared out for more new merchandise. Happy shopping!
If you have questions about how Merchandise Outlet can help your charitable organization, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some links to learn more about these organizations, whether to utilize their services, support them, or simply to learn more about the extraordinary programs offered in our great communities:
Disability Network Northern Michigan (Traverse City): https://disabilitynetwork.org/
Habitat for Humanity (Mt. Pleasant & many other locations): https://www.habitat.org/us-mi/mt-pleasant/isabell...
Isabella County Commission on Aging (Mt. Pleasant): http://www.isabellacounty.org/dept/coa
Otsego County Commission on Aging (Gaylord): https://otsegocountycoa.org/
Community Home & Health Services (Gaylord): https://chhs.co/
Clare County Senior Services (Harrison): https://clarecoseniors-coa.net/