Tucked away in a bright, clean building in York County next to the Sentara Williamsburg Hospital, is a full storehouse that rivals any North Pole workshop. There one finds a special organization, F.R.E.E., which all year long gives area residents the gift of the equipment they need to stay safe and be mobile and independent at the same time.
F.R.E.E. stands for the Foundation for Rehabilitation Equipment & Endowment. The organization is a nonprofit organization based in Virginia. F.R.E.E. collects, sanitizes, and gives away a range of mobility-related rehabilitation equipment to low-income uninsured or under-insured adults in Virginia.
Eligible individuals can apply for the following types of equipment:
Manual and power wheelchairs
Walkers and wheeled walkers
Canes and crutches
Bath and toilet aids
Hoyer lifts and
Other specialty equipment.
According to a medical professional who supports F.R.E.E., “The equipment provided makes the client more independent in their home and safer by decreasing their fall risk.”
“F.R.E.E. is a program were neighbors help neighbors. We collect medical equipment from the community that is abandoned or no longer needed. We utilize these unused resources to meet the needs of others. It’s incredibly practical and the right thing to do. It just makes sense,” says Robin Ramsey, Executive Director of F.R.E.E.
“The Williamsburg Health Foundation has been proud to support F.R.E.E. since they first came to Williamsburg. In fact, we have seen the whole community support F.R.E.E. Sentara Williamsburg has given it a home since the beginning,” says Carol Sale, President and CEO of the Williamsburg Health Foundation.
A recipient of a FREE walker shared his experience. “I needed a walker that could support me because of my height and frozen shoulder. I needed a walker with forearm extension, and my insurance would not cover it. After completing my application, I had my walker in no time. Now I can walk in comfort without having to worry about losing my balance.”
F.R.E.E. has six Virginia locations: Roanoke, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, Lynchburg, and Winchester. To contact the Williamsburg location, call (757) 707-4741; fax (757) 337-5032; or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about their programs, including their Williamsburg location, visit www.free-foundation.org.