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Modesto Organization Rehabs Old Wheelchairs To Ship Worldwide To Those In Need

MODESTO (CBS13) – A Modesto nonprofit that's been around for two decades is now ramping up production to bring wheelchairs to the poorest of the poor across the globe.

Lonny Davis showed us a stockpile of hundreds of wheelchairs in his warehouse.

"We do about 1,200 a year right now," he said.

Davis runs Hope Haven West – a nonprofit that takes gently used wheelchairs worth thousands of dollars and rehabs them for those in need around the world.

"We have a photograph and a solicitude or an application for every person who is going to receive one of these chairs," Davis said. "And that drives what we put on the container."

Davis said 600 are about to be shipped out.

"To Tepic, Mexico, to Guadalajara, Mexico and Acapulco, Mexico," he said.

Approximately 70% will go to children unable to move.

"The only time they get out is when their mother or father take them and transport them on their backs or in a wheelbarrow," Davis said.

Hope Haven West sends a team out to fit each wheelchair to each person. It's important because Davis says if kids do not have proper seating, their bodies don't form properly.

"When an individual is just allowed to lay on a bed or a pallet on the floor, then their body will not form correctly and they will actually freeze in the most contorted positions," he said.

A proper seating structure extends their life and gives them the quality of life. Volunteer Nick Mascitelli has seen it first hand.

"Once you do this and see what the need is and see how much help this provides not to just the child, but the caregiver and the mom and grandma, it moves you," Mascitelli said.

Davis said he is asking the public for more wheelchairs due to increasing demand. In the last twenty years, Hope Haven West has distributed 17,000 used wheelchairs worldwide.

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