If you have a walker you no longer need, which is in pretty good condition, there are many places, organizations who work with people who need one, but cannot pay for it, as well as online platforms where you can donate person to person. So let’s take a look.
You can donate your “gently used” walkers to State Assistive Technology Projects, state online equipment exchanges, reuse centers, community loan closets (state and local), bikur cholim, non-profit charities, thrift stores, medical equipment refurbishment projects, faith based organizations, local churches, on specialized and classified websites, on social media platforms with marketplaces, to senior centers and veterans centers.
Contents Overview & Quicklinks
Donating walkers and other used medical equipment to Assistive Technology Programs
Assistive Technology Programs (AT Programs) are established with a federal grant to increase access in a state, to what are called assistive technologies, which includes most durable medical equipment.
Find your state in the list below, and click on it to go to your AT Program website.
Many states have non-profit organizations which work hand-in-hand with the State Assistive Technology Programs, to provide equipment for people in need who can’t afford to pay high prices, or even to pay at all.
Click on your state to go to your AT program website
Donating walkers to Refurbishment and Reuse Centers
Medical Equipment Refurbishment and Reuse Centers will both typically have programs for the redistribution of the equipment that they have received, and will make sure that your walker gets a home with someone who really need it.
In general, the equipment is given to those in need, either for free, or for a very low fee.
Medical equipment refurbishment centers and reuse centers are typically run by non-profit organizations, and the costs are kept low so that the donated items can be offered.
Donating walkers to Centers for Independent Living
Centers for Independent Living will very often accept donations of new, or used, medical equipment for their members.
“A Center for Independent Living are – Designed and operated by individuals with disabilities, Centers for Independent Living (CILs) provide independent living services for people with disabilities. CILs are at the core of ACL’s independent living programs, which work to support community living and independence for people with disabilities across the nation based on the belief that all people can live with dignity, make their own choices, and participate fully in society. These programs provide tools, resources, and supports for integrating people with disabilities fully into their communities to promote equal opportunities, self-determination, and respect.”
Source : https://acl.gov/programs/aging-and-disability-networks/centers-independent-living
You can locate a center near you on this website.
Donating walkers to Medical Equipment Loan Closets
Medical equipment loan closets are a fantastic place to donate any new or gently used durable medical equipment. The loan closets in general will lend durable medical equipment to members of their community who need it.
In some cases, you may need to leave a deposit, which you will recuperate on returning the item, but in general the closets just loan out the equipment for free.
The loan closets may vary greatly in scale, with some being run by large non-profit organizations across a whole state, all the way down to those run by a few volunteers out of a garage.
To find a medical equipment loan closet near you, you can start by looking in a number of places to find out if there is one where you can donate your walker –
- the easiest way to start is just to do a search, on your search engine of choice, for “medical equipment loan closet + your location”, “medical equipment lending closet + your location”, “medical equipment lending bank + your location”, or “medical equipment bank + your location” – I would try all of these if you are having no luck
- make inquiries with your county Area Agency on Aging, as they provide services to help people over the age of 60, their families and carers with gaining access to the community services available to them – to find out which is your county’s agency you need to go to the link here, and enter your zip code etc.,
- go to your town, or city council, human resources or seniors department, and ask if they have any medical loan closets that they have set up, or are aware of
- locate any reuse or medical equipment refurbishing centers near you, and ask if they have, or know of a medical equipment loan closet – again just search for these on your search engine of choice
- Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs and American Legion Posts do a lot of charity work and some run medical equipment loan closets
To find a Lions Club near you, check out my article here – How To Find A Lions Club Near Me ? A Very Quick Illustrated Guide
To find a Rotary Club near you, check out my article here – How To Find A Rotary Club Near Me ? A Very Quick Illustrated Guide
Bikur Cholim or Medical Equipment Gemacht – are medical equipment loan closets which are available to, and run by, members of the Jewish community.
You can make inquiries about these at your local synagogue, or here on the Chesed Match website.
Great Lakes Loan Closets
One of the most comprehensive networks of loan closets is that of the Great Lakes. It comprises a huge network of loan closets which have been set up by all sorts of groups, including churches, faith groups, senior centers, local councils, and they have all been kindly listed on one website.
The Great Lakes Loan Closets are designed for the residents of Michigan, Wisconsin, Northern Indiana and Northern Illinois.
“Loan closets typically have durable medical equipment (DME) such as wheelchairs, shower chairs, bedside commodes, walkers, crutches, canes, and high-rise toilet seats. Some may also have hospital beds or electric wheelchairs available. Each loan closet is unique, with its own set of eligibility requirements, equipment, and loan period.” – Source – the Great Lakes Loan Closets website
You will find a link on the home page of the website if you wish to donate equipment – https://loanclosets.org/
National and International organizations which accept durable medical equipment donations
Here is the web page with the store locator – https://www.goodwill.org/locator/
To donate your raised toilet seat, or anything else, go to this page on their website – https://satruck.org/
To find your local affiliate, go to this web page – https://www.easterseals.com/connect-locally/
The Partnership for Quality Medical Donations
Their website page about donating is here – http://www.pqmd.org/pillars/donation-guidelines/
Their website page about donating is here – https://projectcure.org/donate-supplies-equipment
REMEDY – Recovered Medical Equipment for the developing World
You can go to this webpage to donate equipment to REMEDY – https://www.med-eq.org/Login/form.aspx?type=donate&quick=1
Advocates for World Health
Visit this page to find out about donating durable medical equipment – https://awhealth.org/donate-medical-equipment/
To donate, visit this web address – https://www.esperanca.org/donate-supplies/
You can check this on the MedShare website – https://www.medshare.org/
HERO Healthcare Equipment Recycling Organization
You can find out more here on their website – https://www.herofargo.org/wp-content/uploads/IndividualSupplies.pdf
To find out how to give your donation, look at this website page – https://www.globallinks.org/our-work/programs/medical-surplus-recovery-program/individual-and-community-surplus-recovery
Global Mobility USA
You can contact them at this web address – http://www.globalmobilityusa.org/equipment-and-in-kind-donations
This is the donation page on their website – http://www.medicalbridges.org/donate/medical-supplies-and-equipment
Online listing sites where you can donate a walker near you
Posting donations on online listings and platforms, allows you to make the area to which you are offering your walker as local as you wish.
If you are donating to someone further afield, you can offer to give the equipment and charge just for the shipping.
Don’t offer to let people come and pick it up, as there are people who may take advantage, especially if you are caring for an elderly person arrange to meet in a public place.
When doing an online posting, you should create a throwaway email address, as you don’t want to get inundated with spam emails – so don’t use your regular private email for this.
Finally, remember that when you are donating your item person to person, state that you are donating it “as is”, and that you accept no liability if the new user has any sort of accident or problem with the equipment – write it in the description of your item in your posting
I have written short illustrated guides on how to donate on each of the following platforms –
OfferUp.com – I haven’t written an article on this, as there is a very good video showing how to use OfferUp, see below.
Donating walkers in your neighborhood
If you didn’t have any luck donating your walker online, why not pop into some of these places in your neighborhood to see if they need walkers –
- Local Hospitals – they will need and use them for patients after surgeries
- Emergency rooms – they may be in need of certain DME including walkers
- Thrift stores – you may have a store near you which will sell your walker at a low price
- Senior Centers or Elderly Day Care Centers with loan closets – do a search on Google for your local area and give them a call
- Veterans Group homes in your area may be interested in your walker
- Look up the local Retirement Homes in the yellow pages and give them a call
- Check with your local council Seniors department to see if they have a medical equipment loan closet
Organizations near you who may know where to donate a walker
If you haven’t had any luck in finding places that may be able to take your walker, here are some other organizations which might be able to suggest where you may be able to donate it –
Area Agency On Aging
Area Agencies on Aging may very well be able to find you groups who will be happy to take your donation.
These are non-profit agencies which are chosen by the state to focus on the requirements of the elderly at a local level.
To locate your local Area Agency on Aging – go here.
Talk with your local social services to find out if they know of any programs that are accepting donations of durable medical equipment.
There are a number of Faith based charities who do an enormous amount of work with the homeless, the elderly and refugees across the US, and if you contact them they may be able to help you find a home for your walker.
Two such Charities which have chapters all over the US are –
The Catholic Charities
Society of St Vincent de Paul
You can find their websites and contact info in your area by entering the “name of the charity + where you live”, into the web browser of your choice.
Local Town Hall or Chamber of Commerce
Your local Town Hall, or Chamber of Commerce, should have a list of nonprofit organizations, charities and community groups, running programs which refurbish durable medical equipment and then redistribute it in the community, in your area.
Reasons why your walker may not be accepted
If you are trying to donate a walker which is a bit beat up, or defective in any way, it will be hard to find somewhere to donate them, except as spare parts.
Many organizations are not equipped to handle used medical equipment, which may need disinfecting and washing to avoid the spread of infection. And as a result, they will not want to accept your used equipment.
Another issue with “used” medical equipment is the problem with the warranties-companies often don’t want to get involved in handling equipment which has lost its warranty.
Lastly, there can be state laws governing the reuse of medical equipment, and they will vary from state to state.
Tax deductions on donations
Don’t forget to keep the receipt for your donation if you made it to a registered charity, or non-profit, as you can get a tax deduction, if you have the receipt for the item.
I’m Gareth, the author and owner of Looking After Mom and Dad.com
I have been a caregiver for over 10 yrs and share all my tips here.