KC HELP: How it started. Where is it going?
By: Jerry Rhoads ~
The vision of a program to help people in our communities to obtain durable medical equipment was born from a small group of Knights in the Richland Council 3307 in Washington State. The question that spurred us on was: “What would you do if you needed a hospital bed or wheelchair but could not afford one?” This vision came from volunteer Knights that were part of the volunteer support of our local Hospice program in the Tri-Cities (Richland, Kennewick, & Pasco) who recognized that many people in the community that were not enrolled in Hospice care did without. The pilot program was approved by the Richland Council's Grand Knight Heller in 1996 and a Resolution to encourage Knights to support this effort was approved at the following Washington State Knights of Columbus Convention under the leadership of our then State Deputy, Thomas Weber.
KC HELP (Knights Community Hospital Equipment Lend Program) is an established 50l(c)3 not for profit" agency in Washington State and has Service Centers in three locations to serve the poor in our communities. The gaps in health care coverage for many people are in the durable medical equipment area. The limits in their insurance policies mirror the limits in Medicare, leaving many without access. Over the past 21 years, the Knights support of KC HELP has solved this problem for over 30,000 people. This past year, over 3000 clients were served by them. In addition, the need continues to grow.
Our health service organizations, including three hospitals, refer clients to us daily and clinicians directly fax prescriptions to our headquarters. There are 8 councils statewide that provide volunteers to support the three service centers and provide volunteer directors that comprise our Board of Directors. Many local service clubs and volunteers from other faiths have found this service meaningful in their lives and they provide a communitywide support base. We have provided mobile assist equipment to areas of devastation, including Haiti through networking with the SIGNS Corporation, and are currently working with Volunteers without Limits and Doctors without Borders to help a new community hospital in St Filipe Baja, Mexico and establish a program to grow it further.
Profound good has come to the communities that KC HELP serves. It is our hope that this program will continue to provide these services for many more years in our communities and grow to other states and communities. To that end, we would be happy to help others establish programs in their area. Please contact our KC Help Founder and CEO Jerry Rhoads at firstname.lastname@example.org