There when you need it: Waikoloa Loan Closet provides medical equipment for the community
Realtor Phyllis Klicker had closed on a home sale in Waikoloa Village and discovered the previous owner had left behind a cache of medical equipment. Not wanting to take it to the landfill, she decided to open the Waikoloa Loan Closet, making the equipment available free of charge to anyone in need.
“With the real estate business in a bit of a quagmire here on the Big Island between COVID, lack of inventory, influx of interest rates, inflation and the uncertainty of our world today, my clients are laying low,” she said. “So I decided to get creative with my extra time and give back.”
Klicker worked with a loan closet when she lived on the mainland and set out to find a place to house the equipment.
“I don’t know how the stars aligned but the manager of Kupuna Care offered space to house the equipment,” she said.
Klicker said in order to use that space she had to prove to the county who is the administrator of Kupuna Care that there was a need.
“So I put it out there on social media and immediately got such a positive response,” she said.
A “loan closet” lends out home medical equipment to people recovering from illness or injury free of charge. Most organizations receive their equipment from members of the community who no longer need it. Loan closets typically have durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs, shower chairs, bedside commodes, walkers, crutches, canes and high-rise toilet seats.
“The equipment is offered free to anyone in need. There is no time limit as to how long you may have the equipment to use and the equipment is on a first come first served basis. We simply ask that you return the equipment when you no longer need it, so that the next person can benefit,” she said.
Klicker said she’s not concerned with who is using the equipment.
“We want it to truly be a loan closet. It doesn’t matter if you have insurance, or what age you are. If you need something that we have, then come on over,” she said.
She said the loan closet is also ideally suited for visiting ohana.
“Grandma may have brought a walker, but really needs a wheelchair for her visit. My next step is to start reaching out the tourists, that if something happens while you are here you can loan it out and return it when you go back home,” she added.
Klicker said though the closet is physically located in Waikoloa Village, she wants it to be available to people island wide.
“We want to get together with the medical people behind the scenes that know where there is a need,” she said.
One of the medical professionals Klicker has contacted is Hawaii Fire Department Emergency Medical Services Capt. Mike Lam.
“The Hawaii Fire Department EMS branch receives calls from community members or various social service and medical agencies such as hospitals, office of aging, hospice, etc. when DME are needed or have DME to donate,” he said. “The Waikoloa Loan Closet is ideally situated in West Hawaii as a hub to drop off or pick up DME.”
Klicker said even though equipment is loaned out no questions asked and can be kept for as long as it is needed, the closet keeps track of the individuals to check in periodically to make sure they are doing OK.
“Kupuna Care can follow up, making sure they are being taken care of and check to see if they are in need of other services,” she said.
The Loan Closet is located at the HCEOC Kupuna Care office on the second floor of the Highlands Shopping Center.
The loan closet is available to dispense medical items by appointment only between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. To check on equipment availability or to donate equipment, call or text Phyllis at (808) 217-6816 or Beverley at (808) 895-4679.
“Mahalo to all of the individuals and community organizations for collaborating together and making this a reality. Special thanks goes to the people of Waikoloa who are donating and “giving back” to others,” said Klicker. “Take a chance, find time to give back.”