More than 70 million people worldwide need a wheelchair, but only five to fifteen percent of people have access to one, according to the World Health Organization.
It’s a problem folks at Joni and Friends, an international Christian disability ministry, and a handful of Delta Airlines employees have teamed up to fight.
“We collect wheelchairs, have them restored or refurbished, and then we provide them to individuals in developing countries who need the gift of mobility,” said Jane Palmer, senior manager of Joni and Friends Minnesota.
The organization’s program, Wheels for the World, has collected, restored and shipped about 175,000 wheelchairs to nations in need.
Every chair is taken to one of 15 different prisons in the U.S., where the chairs are fixed up and shipped to 18 different developing countries like Ghana, Haiti and Peru.
“We had tried before to start collecting wheelchairs, because we were getting rid of some, and there was nobody that we knew of that would take them,” said Karen Carlin, a Delta customer service agent.
Five years ago, Carlin helped start ‘Wheels Up’, a place to collect used wheelchairs.
Now, both groups are teaming up to get your used wheelchairs to places where they are direly needed.
On September 28th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the groups will host the ‘Wheels Up Wheelchair Round Up’ located at 7500 Airline Drive at MSP International Airport.
If you can’t make the event, you can feel free to drop off wheelchairs at the Delta G building at 7350 34th Avenue South near the airport. It’s open Mondays through Fridays 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The drop-off site also accepts crutches, canes and walkers.
Click here for more information on the Wheels Up and Wheels For the World location.