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Jan 25, 2012

550 wheelchairs given the Rotarian way

The Belize Rotary Club has teamed up with the Clovis Rotary Club of New Mexico for an ambitious and exciting project. At Old Belize on the Western Highway, the assembly line is long; hundreds of wheelchairs are being put together for donation to deserving persons with disabilities.  News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.

According to the President of the Rotary Club of Belize, it is partaking in a joint venture to donate hundreds of wheelchairs to disabled persons.

Francis Woods, President, Rotary Club of Belize

Francis Woods

“Well about eighteen months ago, I met Tammy Garner from the Clovis Rotary Club of New Mexico. At that time we had just finished a distribution of wheelchairs and she was excited and asked if she could partner with us to provide wheelchairs and here we are today assembling wheelchairs. We have five hundred and fifty wheelchairs. We are assembling around one hundred and fifty to two hundred of which we’ll be distributing on Friday. We are partnering with all our rotary clubs countrywide—there is nine total. And we have clubs from Punta Gorda all the way to Corozal that will be partnering with us to help distribute it to folks that need. We are really trying to do doorstep delivery of these wheelchairs so we can actually—it’s important since many of these folks can’t come out to pick up these wheelchairs so we are getting our clubs to partner with us to deliver it to the doorsteps of the folks that need it.”

Jose Sanchez

“So you are not giving it to organizations, you are personally handing these out?”

Francis Woods

“That’s ideally the main goal is to actually hand it to persons that need it, but there are organizations that do cater to a lot of folks with disabilities so we do help them out as well.”

The Clovis Rotary Club From New Mexico has been working with Francis Woods for almost two years to get the project completed.

Tammy Garner, President, Clovis Rotary Club

Tammy Garner

“After I returned from Belize about eighteen months ago, one of the things that they said that y’all needed were wheelchairs. So we just we worked with our Clovis Rotary Club and asked them if that was a project they wanted to be a part of and so we started raising the funds within our club and then each of the members—we got sixty-five members—and each of the members went out and spoke to their family and friends and members of their churches and we began raising the funds that way.  We used facebook too. We also got a few donations through facebook.”

Jose Sanchez

“Would you ever have expected you would be shipping the amount of chairs that you have here today?”

Tammy Garner

“Five hundred and fifty and we got to use the company we used free wheelchair mission—they are a company out of California and then they ship through a company in China and they ship to third world countries and the minimum we could order from that country was five hundred and fifty. So we couldn’t have send you one if we hadn’t have committed to raising the funds for the five hundred and fifty. So that’s how many are here.”

Jose Sanchez

“The rotary team is assembling the wheelchairs here at the Old Belize Facility at this little factory. It is actually a lawn chair as you can see that they are using. And what they do is that the lawn chair already has holes that are pre-drilled and afterwards they just attach it to this iron frame and within twenty minutes time, you have a wheelchair.”

Jose Sanchez

“When it comes to assembly, is it something complicated?”

Tammy Garner

“Well yesterday morning, the first one we all did took us about one hour. But we’ve got it down to where we can but one together in about ten minutes now. Well my team can do it fastest—we can do it a little faster than everybody else; maybe not. We just like to thank the Rotarian Club of Belize City of working with us and partnering with us on this and just really enjoy working with different Rotarians around the world and this has been a wonderful project to work on.”

Francis Woods

“We have a couple partners; one is the Word at Work that organized a lot of the shipping for it and organized a lot of the logistics here. We did a fundraising; in fact a lot of our fundraising that we do support this wheelchair project that we do. We committed about seven or eight thousand dollars. It will probably be ten by the time the whole function is over. That’s why we ask for the general public support.”

Jose Sanchez

“I know the rotary does a lot when it comes to the heart and children.  The wheelchair project; how did you know that there was a need and this is a massive amount; how did you become aware of this?’

Francis Woods

“Well we’ve been doing it for roughly five years now. And we were contacted by a partner in Canada, a Rotary Club in Canada. And at the time wheelchairs was one of the projects that we were focusing on. We became a contact group like CARE and the Red Cross. We are also partners. If we get call for wheelchairs and we don’t have, we try to get it from CARE or the Red Cross. This shipment of wheelchairs will make over two thousand chairs that we have delivered to Belizeans already.”

Jose Sanchez

“Where will Friday’s handing over be held and can anyone receive a chair if they are just finding out about it?”

Francis Woods

“Yes absolutely. We have been advertising it on radio. The phone number to call is 222-4369. We need name, address, phone number and we will see how we can get ti to them as quickly as possible. We will be having a ceremony right here at the Jungle Pavilion, Old Belize at nine a.m. If somebody needs a wheelchair and has somebody that can pick it up for them, they can come out here that day. But we would still like a phone number for them to call in with their names so we make sure that we have the exact amount of chairs.”

The chairs will be rolled out and gifted on Friday. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

The handing over ceremony will take place at Old Belize on Friday. Call 222-5369 if you need a wheelchair.

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2 Responses for “550 wheelchairs given the Rotarian way”

  1. Earl Grey says:

    LOTS OF PEOPLE WANT TO HELP BELIZE…THEY REALLY DO!!!

  2. Dhanesh says:

    my cousine-in-law belongs to a poor family,need a wheel chair. can u give mee the details?

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