Crutches, canes, walkers, and more—available for free use by Lansing residents
by Jennifer Yos
LANSING, Ill. (August 22, 2018) – For 60 years the Lansing Loan Closet has been a valued community program that loans Lansing residents gently used home medical equipment—such as crutches, wheelchairs, and walkers—on a temporary basis and totally free of charge. The program has a long history of involved residents, organizations, businesses, politicians, and most recently a Lansing church stepping up to take the baton of proprietorship.
According to an old Lansing Sun article dated August 7, 1973, the Lansing Loan Closet began in 1958 when Mrs. Ann Seeburger and Mrs. Clara Frank, Lansing residents and members of the Health Council at the time, accepted a donation of medical equipment. The women continued to accept donations from Lansing residents and from various local organizations, storing the equipment first in both of their own homes, and then solely in Mrs. Frank’s home.
As time went on, the Lansing Rotary Club, through Cal Frank, helped maintain the Loan Closet and housed the equipment in the Lansing Federal Savings and Loan. When even more space was needed, former Senator Jack Walker donated basement space in the Walker building. Mrs. Frank’s daughter, Mrs. Clarice Fazio, took on program operations after her mother died.
For a time the Lansing Loan Closet was located at the old Village Hall on Chicago Avenue, in a garage adjacent to the old fire station on Lake Street. More recently it was housed at the Lansing Municipal Center.
This year Reverend John Holyer of Trinity Lutheran Church and Office Manager Megan Roe arranged a meeting with Village leaders to discuss how the former Trinity Lutheran School building, which lay vacant behind Trinity Lutheran Church, might be used as a shared space to benefit the Lansing community. Mayor Patty Eidam saw their generous offer as an ideal solution to the Lansing Loan Closet’s need for more space, since the short narrow hallway leading to a maintenance area in the Lansing Municipal Center could accommodate only a limited amount of donated equipment.
In mid-July of this year, the transfer of the equipment was made from the Lansing Municipal Center to the new location. Trinity Lutheran Church is located at 2505 Indiana Avenue, and the new Loan Closet is located in the former school building directly south of the church, across the parking lot. The Loan Closet’s convenient flagpole entrance faces east on Glen Terrace, and the two-way enter/exit parking lot allows for convenient equipment pick-up and drop-off. There are no stairs for borrowers or donors to navigate, and, if needed, the equipment can be directly delivered to or picked up from their cars.
The Loan Closet itself is a spacious classroom, cleared and cleaned by Trinity Lutheran Church volunteers. The classroom currently houses eight pairs of adjustable crutches, six canes, a pair of forearm bariatric crutches with full cuffs, one large shower bench, one transport chair, two seated walkers, ten standard walkers, and one portable commode. Inventory, of course, changes on a daily basis as donations come in and loaners go out.
Office Manager Megan Roe, along with Reverend Holyer, has taken charge of the Loan Closet operation. She asks that residents interested in either borrowing or donating equipment call her in the church office (708-474-7997) to arrange a pick-up or drop-off time during normal operating hours: 9:00am–3:00pm, Monday through Friday.
Only Lansing residents are allowed to sign the waiver to borrow equipment, but donations are accepted from anyone interested in recycling their clean, gently used medical items. Borrowers may keep an item for as long as it is needed, and they are expected to return it clean and in good condition.
Anyone who is not a resident of Lansing and needs to borrow medical supplies is encouraged to check suburbanresourceguide.com to see a comprehensive list of medical loan closets located in the north, south, and west suburbs of Chicago.
The Lansing Loan Closet is currently in need of more wheelchairs and will even accept hospital beds, but all clean and gently used items are appreciated. Boots and leg braces are not accepted for safety reasons, since users need professional sizing. Portable commodes are accepted only if they are bleach-cleaned before donation or after borrowing. A Trinity member who has worked in medical supplies has offered to inspect the integrity of the larger donated items.
Village Communications Director Ken Reynolds also notes that donations may still be dropped off at the Municipal Building, and someone will see to it that the items are delivered to the new location.
For more information, view the Lansing Loan Closet video produced by LNN:
- Lansing Loan Closet (video)
The Lansing Loan Closet is located at Trinity Lutheran Church and School, 2505 Indiana Avenue in Lansing, Illinois. Call 708-474-7997 for more information or to arrange a pick-up or drop-off time during normal operating hours: 9:00am–3:00pm, Monday through Friday.