Avraham's Closet lends wheelchairs, walkers & more

PHOTO: Physical Therapist Patty Magid-Volk and Cantor Linda Shivers prepare a wheelchair for someone needing a lift following surgery, injury or illness. The durable medical-equipment lending library could use more wheelchairs.


Shortly after I wrote an article announcing the creation of Avraham’s Closet, a medical-equipment lending library, I found out what a wonderful resource it truly is.
Cantor Linda Shivers and Neveh Shalom’s
Hesed (kindness) Committee created the program to loan wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, shower chairs, commodes and other items to people recovering from surgery, injury or illness.  
When my 100-year-old father-in-law grew weak in his final days, Avraham’s Closet quickly provided a wheelchair to take him to medical appointments and other items to help around the house. He passed away just a week later, but the supplies and Cantor Shivers’ kindness made the final days easier.
Our experience has been shared by many who need equipment for a short time as they recover from surgery or injury.
“Everyone is really appreciative,” says Cantor Shivers.
“For those like me with a temporary need for medical equipment, Avraham’s Closet is an important resource,” wrote one satisfied borrower. “While recovering from hip surgery, I was able to borrow items essential in my post-operative rehabilitation. Once I recovered and no longer needed the items, I was happy to return the borrowed equipment, and included other items (walker, shower seat) that I had purchased for temporary use during my recovery. It gives me pleasure to know that these will now be available for someone else to use.”
Patty Magid-Volk, a physical therapist, volunteers to help people decide what equipment they need.
“If you are going to have a hip or knee replacement or shoulder surgery, you are going to need stuff, and you don’t have to buy it,” says PT Patty (as her patients call her), who can suggest what equipment you are most likely to need. “I can give a professional opinion on what is needed.”
When a woman finishing rehab at Robison Jewish Health Center called to borrow a quad cane and shower bench, Cantor Shivers knew she might need more equipment. So she had a video conference with Patty, who was able to recommend other items the woman would need to have a smooth transition back to her home.
“We try to give mensch-like personal service, without restrictions,” says Patty, noting the lending library is open to all.
Cantor Shivers adds, “No doctor’s note is needed. If you say you need it, and we have it, you can have it as long as you need it.”
She does encourage people who no longer need it to return equipment or donate equipment they have purchased so others may use it. She says sometimes people who have had one hip replacement think they will hang onto a walker anticipating they will have the other hip replaced in the future.
“But if you need it later, we can give it to you,” says Cantor Shivers.  
She encourages people to donate unused equipment (wheelchairs are especially needed) rather than letting it take up space and gather dust. A Hesed Committee volunteer is available to pick up donations if you aren’t able to drop items off at the synagogue in Southwest Portland.
“Avraham’s Closet is an important resource for our community, and I hope that others take advantage of this service,” says a man who borrowed items while recovering from hip surgery.
Contact Cantor Linda Shivers at 515-954-5221 or cantor.shivers@gmail.com or call the Neveh Shalom office at 503-246-8831 for more information on how to donate or borrow equipment.




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