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Salvation Army gives chairs

Members of local non-profits worked together to get donated wheelchairs to where they’re needed. Here, John Woleben, of Toys for Tots, tests one with (from left) Donald Gogan, Major Cal Clatterbuck, Cindy Creede, Hunter March and Susan Stanley.

You might not be able to imagine what good that old wheelchair, taking up too much space in your garage, can do. But, if you gave it to the Salvation Army, you might be surprised at how much you helped someone.

On Thursday, the Salvation Army donated wheelchairs to the Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, where they’ll be put to good use.

“When we partner with a service, we are all sharing in the mission to help the community,” Salvation Army Major Cal Clatterbuck said. “We’re just another helping hand, and helping senior services helps our community.”

The Salvation Army discovered the need after Cindy Creede, director of transit and wellness for Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, sent emails to local groups describing the organization’s need for the wheelchairs. One group that received the email sent it along to John Woleben, Suffolk-area director for Toys for Tots. Because Toys for Tots works with the Salvation Army in Suffolk, he knew just who could help.

“It’s essential for us to serve our clients’ needs, and as nonprofit organizations, we support each other to help the community,” Clatterbuck said.

The wheelchairs going to Senior Services will be used to help patients get on and off I-Ride vehicles, which take them to medical appointments and social gatherings.

“We have so many patients who can’t climb up the step to get into our vehicles, and you don’t want them to stand on the wheel chair lift,” said Susan Stanley, transit and wellness office manager. “We can put them into the wheelchair, where they can sit and help them into the vehicle. It’s a way to keep them mobile without feeling unhappy about being a little frail.”

I-Ride operates Monday through Saturday to help the one in five seniors who do not have their own transportation go to medical appointments or wellness centers.

“We might not need them for every single patient, but when we need to use them we need them right then,” Creede said. “We’re so thankful to be given these gifts. The need is always there.”

The Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia is seeking an additional 12 standard-sized and oversized wheelchairs.

To donate, call 461-9481.