Local nonprofit keeps doors open, gives away free medical supplies

Posted at 3:03 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 19:08:56-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Getting medical supplies is difficult on a typical day, let alone getting them in the middle of a pandemic.

They are expensive, and often times the people who need the supplies most aren't able to afford them.

One local nonprofit has made it their mission to give away these life-saving items for free. Even in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, they're making sure their doors stay open.

Folks like Jackie Perry could not be more grateful. The former hygienist was diagnosed with ALS in 2015. Her husband, Stan, also has health complications.

“Between our both of our medications that we have to purchase, I don’t know how we would be able to afford everything," Jackie says.

That uncertainty led them to Access Partnership. In fact, volunteers gave Jackie a new hospital bed after hers broke and insurance wouldn't cover the cost.

“They've been there just amazingly when I needed help," she says.

The coronavirus pandemic is changing the nonprofit's operations a bit. Volunteers are now loading supplies into people's vehicles and are only accepting durable medical equipment that can be sanitized and re-distributed.

Stan even had to travel all the way from North Carolina to pick up Jackie's supplies because Dare County is closed to visitors.

Equipment Coordinator Karen Youmans says they've also seen a greater need in certain items, "like home pulse oximeters, home blood pressure monitors and that kind of thing because the community is trying to promote telehealth to keep people at home."

They are also being extra cautious to sanitize and wipe down any supplies that go in or out of the building.

Youmans says that the items they give away can also keep people out of the hospital. For example, if someone needs a railing to add in their bathroom for stability, the likelihood of them falling and having to call paramedics decreases.

"As long as we're able and we’re meeting regulations and requirements that have been set forth by the state and federal government, we’re going to continue working as long as we can," says Executive Director Candice Driskell.

The idea is that folks like Jackie and Stan don't have to worry.

"I can’t even describe how lucky I feel that I know Candie and I have this support from Access Partnership," Jackie says.

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