PHOTO: Cantor Linda Shivers, right, and physical therapist Patty Magid-Volk are surrounded by durable medical equipment that has been donated to Avraham’s Closet. The two volunteers are eager to loan the wheelchairs, walkers and other items to people recovering from surgery, injury or illness.
BY DEBORAH MOON
When Cantor Linda Shivers and Neveh Shalom’s Hesed (kindness) Committee put out a call for wheelchairs, walkers and similar items, donations flooded in from people who had recovered from an injury or surgery.
Now Cantor Shivers wants people to borrow the items they need from Avraham’s Closet, the durable medical equipment lending library created by the Hesed Committee. Neveh Shalom’s committee provides meal delivery, grocery shopping or support for congregants experiencing a medical situation or family emergency. But unlike those projects, the lending library is open to everyone.
“You don’t have to be poor, you don’t have to be a member of Neveh Shalom, you don’t even have to be Jewish,” says Cantor Shivers. “You just have to say ‘I need a walker,’ and we will lend it to you to keep as long as you need it.”
The project is named after Cantor Shivers’ husband, Albert (whose Hebrew name is Avraham). After he fell and fractured his pelvis a couple of years ago, she had to find a walker and transfer chair before Robison would release him from rehab to come home. When she tried to find a walker using Medicare, she was told it would take a few months. So, she bought a walker locally. After Albert recovered, the walker was taking up space in their home.
Wanting to spare others the expense of buying and then storing a walker or wheelchair they would only need for a short time, she suggested the Hesed Committee take up the project.
Now Avraham’s Closet is stocked with two- and four-wheel walkers, wheelchairs, crutches, canes, commodes, tub and shower seats, transfer chairs, grabbers, foot pedal exercisers, a knee scooter and assorted pads, slings and ice packs. Donations, especially wheelchairs, are still welcome.
Physical therapist Patty Magid-Volk, who has known the cantor for about 21 years, has volunteered to check the equipment to make sure it is all in proper working order. She is also available to meet clients to properly adjust the height of crutches and walkers. She has been a physical therapist with a geriatric specialty for 36 years.
“PT Patty,” as she is called by her clients at the outpatient mobile clinic where she works, calls the volunteer role “my dream job.”
Cantor Shivers served Neveh Shalom as cantor for 23 years beginning in 1986. She moved to Des Moines, Iowa, in 2008 and returned to Portland in 2013. She is now a member of the congregation’s Hesed Committee.
To borrow (or donate) items from Avraham’s Closet, email email@example.com or call the Neveh Shalom office at 503-246-8831 to arrange a pickup time.