by Rachel Patton
Our donation program for this February is Katy’s Kloset. This is the kind of charity you won’t know about until you need it. You won’t know about it until the nurses, doctors and physical therapists start telling you to try there. Katy’s Kloset is a very special place designed to help people with special needs.
It’s very close to the heart of my family, because as our aging father’s health and mobility rapidly declined, we were left scrambling to find the things we needed to accommodate him, and Katy’s Kloset was a treasure trove when it came to that. Though it’s housed in an unassuming warehouse in an industrial park on the south side of Waukesha, it might as well have been Ali Baba’s cave to us, because when you walk inside what you find is the treasure of help, of caring, and of people tirelessly donating their time to make this marvelous lending library of medical and mobility equipment work.
The Katy’s Kloset story begins with Team Up! With Families a non-profit organization whose mission is to enrich, nurture and strengthen families of children with special needs through their activities, services and programs.
In 1991, Sue Kinosian of New Berlin Therapies realized her dream of providing a typical day camp experience for the children she was treating, right beside their non-disabled siblings. In an active, outdoor environment, those children worked on their therapy goals while doing “regular” camp-type activities. Not many years later, parents of those children came together to form a non-profit group, Team Up! With Families, in order to help organize the camp, lend their creative minds to developing the activities and assist with fund-raising to help support the camp. Soon, Team Up! grew to develop additional programs in order to support and nurture families who have a child with special needs.
Eventually, the service of Katy’s Kloset was born. According to their website, Katy’s Kloset is a nonprofit lending library that accepts donations of good, used durable medical equipment for children and adults. This equipment can then be borrowed at no charge by those in need. Recipients may keep this equipment for as long as needed, and are asked to return it promptly when no longer needed, so it can be recycled again and put to good use.
But that, of course, doesn’t tell you what it’s like to arrive on a Wednesday or Saturday with your rented truck to bring home a hospital bed for a loved one. They are there for you in the worst moments of your life – tireless, energetic volunteers smiling at you and telling you they have what you need or that they think they soon will be able to get it for you. And what makes it more special to me, is that it is all made up of gifts – equipment that meant the difference between being comfortable or having bedsores, or between being mobile or immobile, or between dignity and indignity for someone else and has now been given to Katy’s Kloset for you and your family to use when you are in need.
So bring your gifts, too. Drop off durable medical equipment and medical supplies in the basket in the coat closet when you’re at Church, or use the information at this website, Katy’s Kloset, to drop them off directly (especially if it is a hospital bed or some other large item).