SPECIAL HONOUR - Board members of the Red Deer-based The Lending Cupboard were recently given the ‘Award of Excellence in Community’ from the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities. photo submitted

Lending Cupboard landed ‘Award of Excellence in Community’

The Lending Cupboard lends out medical equipment at no cost across Central Alberta

Red Deer-based The Lending Cupboard recently landed the ‘Award of Excellence in Community’ from the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

The Lending Cupboard lends out medical equipment at no cost across Central Alberta, and it continues to meet a growing need across the region.

The organization is a registered not-for-profit society and was founded in 2006.

“Each year, on December 3rd, the United Nations recognizes the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD),” said Dawna Morey, executive director of the Lending Cupboard.

“On this date, the Alberta Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities Awards are given out to honour and publicly acknowledge the efforts and accomplishments of individuals, groups, businesses and organizations that demonstrate outstanding achievement and leadership in making positive changes that create inclusive, barrier-free communities where persons with disabilities can fully participate.”

This year, IDPD was celebrated in Red Deer on Dec. 1st at Lindsay Thurber High School.

City councilor Buck Buchanan delivered the City’s proclamation supporting IDPD and in addition, Lindsay Thurber students captured the essence of the lives of a number of local people living with disabilities through art and music, said Morey.

As part of the event, Red Deer Inclusion and Accessibility Network local awards were presented.

Meanwhile, as part of her acceptance speech, Morey said, “On behalf of The Lending Cupboard board of directors, staff and volunteers, I wish to thank the Premier’s Council for today’s award.

“Thank you to Karol Luciani for the nomination and to Ann Nicol representing the Premier’s Council. This award validates the incredible passionate work that all the volunteers, staff and the board dedicate to supporting people throughout Central Alberta.”

The organization operates through some support from Alberta Health Services, with the bulk of support stemming from grants, fundraising and private donations. Equipment available runs the gamut from wheelchairs, walkers, bath chairs and commodes to crutches and canes, hydraulic lifts and bed rails.

Meanwhile, at a City council meeting this past summer, councillors discussed Alberta Urban Municipalities Association Membership (AUMA) resolutions, which are voted on during the annual convention in the fall – organizations like the Lending Cupboard were a part of that conversation.

And just last month at the convention, a resolution regarding The Lending Cupboard was supported by the majority of the AUMA’s membership. “I find it really fitting that the AUMA conference title this year was leading through change,” said Morey.

“The AUMA supported the Lending Cupboard and like organizations through a resolution put forward by Red Deer City councillor and seconded by Wetaskiwin City councilor Patricia MacQuarrie.

The resolution asks the AUMA to advocate to the provincial government on behalf of the Lending Cupboard in terms of providing bolstered funding, for example.

“What does this AUMA resolution mean to the Lending Cupboard? It means that municipalities and municipal leaders understand the value (of the Lending Cupboard’s services),” said Morey, adding that the increase in demand for services continues to climb. More than 17,000 pieces of medical equipment were lent out last year alone.

“We have seen already in our first quarter this year that we are going to be up,” she added.

“So the resolution really supports what we learned in our Community Needs Assessment, and from the conversations that we have had with our surrounding communities.”

Again, the resolution is a step towards more sustainable and increased funding, she said, adding that the goal is also to replicate in other communities the success that the Lending Cupboard has seen in Red Deer.

“We need to start to think about what is the economic value and what is the social value – the Municipal Government Act speaks directly to the wellness of people in our communities.

“And what the Lending Cupboard does is not just give a person a piece of equipment. By sharing that equipment, we’re talking about their ability to continue to be mobile, to continue to be engaged in their communities. It’s about independence, it’s about their dignity – it’s about all of those things.”

Morey said the goal now is that the provincial government will take a much more serious look at the, “Conversations that we’ve begun to have with them already.

“We re-purpose, we re-use, and we recycle when the (equipment ) has no more life. And we pride ourselves on the quality control that we have at The Lending Cupboard.”

Check out www.lendingcupboard.ca for more information.

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