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A Different Year at Abilities Expo

By eanderson

September 26, 2018

This was a different kind of year for REquipment at Abilities Expo Boston. The Expo is an annual event with workshops and technologies on display for people with disabilities, everything from adapted play equipment and robotic technologies to the latest in mobility devices. As a reuse program, we don’t always fit in with all the cutting-edge gadgets that most people attend to see. But we’ve always had a great reception and a wonderful time explaining our services. Often we network with other programs that end up making device donations. Always we connect with attendees relieved to learn of a way to obtain backup equipment for when their primary wheelchair is in need of repair.

But as I mentioned, this year was different.

Our program is now statewide. We’ve been promoting our good works in all kinds of venues, and the result is… people know us!

Around the exposition hall, we heard:

“You run a great service.”

“We refer clients to you all the time.”

“My sister has a chair from you.”

It was a warm feeling, reflecting the hard work of our dedicated staff, partner organizations, funders, and volunteers.

I wish everyone who has ever helped us could have been at our Expo table when Lisa H rolled up to say hello.

“Your program is life-changing,” she said.

A smiling African-American woman in a large power chair in a busy expo hall.

Lisa had needed a backup power chair to stay mobile when her primary chair was in the shop. She’d heard about REquipment and when we produced a bariatric Permobile, she was blown away. She never expected we’d have what she needed.

“You saved my life,” she said.

This year Abilities was also different because we turned away donations of older equipment. That’s because our equipment drives have paid off. We now have over 80 power chairs waiting to be collected and refurbished. As a result, we are all the more choosy about what we will take. If a device is older than 5 or 6 years, we are not likely to accept the donation. Last year, we refurbished and reassigned 120 power wheelchairs. This year, those 80 powerchairs waiting for collection are coming from donations accepted in just the first two months of the fiscal year!

Thank you, everyone. It’s a problem we’ve always wanted.

See you at Abilities 2019!