Hidden in the back of the Canadian Red Cross building in St. John’s are hundreds of pieces of health-care equipment that can be loaned out to people in need.
Funded by donations and hard-working volunteers, the Health Equipment Loan Program (HELP) has been an essential service at the Red Cross for many years.
“This is a free program that provides pieces of equipment to those that are injured or require surgery for a short-term basis,” said Shelly Collins, acting community health supervisor with the Canadian Red Cross.
“People are very thankful. It allows for clients to receive equipment that they may not be able to acquire themselves.”
Clients of the program get referrals from health-care professionals for things like bath aids, bath transfer benches, wheelchairs or crutches.
Volunteers like Florence Barron help out with equipment intake and cleaning.
“I know how important it is to the people that need it,” Barron said.
“You know, they’re having surgery and they need this to recuperate and they’re very appreciative of the service that we have here.”
Barron has been giving her time to the Red Cross for more than 50 years.
“I just have a lot of energy and I just don’t like sitting around,” she said.
“So when I come out here and there is a big pile to clean up, I don’t mind it at all. I am just happy and I’ll clean it.”
Collins said she can’t thank the volunteers enough for all they do for HELP.
“Volunteers are the lifeline to this program. So we are very excited to continue providing this great service to our community,” she said.
“It’s a really feel-good program to know that we’re helping the community.”