Where do you go when you need crutches or a wheelchair or some other piece of medical equipment when you can’t afford it?
You go to the Boyne City Loan Closet, a volunteer effort started several decades ago by local realtor Lynda Christensen and Gen Varnum.
“The loan closet is a medical equipment closet that maintains medical equipment for anyone who has a need,” said Christensen, who now operates the program with the help of Varnum’s daughter Penny Hardy. “All we ask is a doctor’s prescription slip to get the equipment.”
The loan closet has two locations, one of which was rapidly deteriorating.
So, Gordon Lambie worked to secure funding and Cathy and Gordon Burns teamed up to build a new storage building (pictured) on the property of the Boyne Area Rehab facility, where the old storage shed was located.
“We still need to get the stuff on the inside: hooks, peg board, but all in all, it is done and it is beautiful compared to what we had,” said Christensen.
According to Christensen, Lambie spearheaded the fundraiser by going to all the local service clubs for donations.
“However, there is still a need for more money to pay for the materials,” said Christensen, who added that there is no consistent funding mechanism for the program. She and Hardy try to keep the closet stocked with pieces of equipment as needed.
She also said the program is quite popular and has helped many people over the years.
“When we need something we do the best we can to come up with whatever the cost is,” Christensen said. “From time to time we do get a donation and we give it to a local church so the donor can get a tax write off and then if we need something minimal the church will help us out.”
The loan closet has been operating for 37 years now.
Christensen said it began as an Easter Seals Society and American Cancer Society program.
About 20 years ago, they groups closed their doors on the loan closet and told Christensen and Varnum to give away the equipment.
But, they refused to turn their backs on those in need in the community.
The project has cost nearly $2,000, which Lambie said they have raised most of. However, there is still work which needs to be done on the inside of the structure.
To help fund the construction costs, send a check to PO Box 973, Boyne City, MI 49712.
Be sure to write “Loan Closet” in the memo line or across the face of the check.
If you would like to donate equipment or money for the loan closet program, call Lynda Christensen at (231) 582-9555.