The Villages Voice - February 2020

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Message from Bill Gottschalk, President of The VHA Helping Hands

by Bill Gottschalk

Message from Bill Gottschalk, President of The VHA Helping Hands Program

As president of The VHA Helping Hands, I would like to welcome our seasonal residents back to a much warmer winter and no snow, and encourage any new residents to settle in, and enjoy this great lifestyle. In the two and a half years I have been coordinating the VHA’s durable medical equipment loan program, Helping Hands, it has grown from our volunteers handling just over 2,000 transactions my first year, to over 6,000 transactions in 2019.  With that growth comes changes that are necessary to keep the program available to all residents of The Villages.  I would like to address some of the changes to the program and describe what the program offers to you. WHAT DOES HELPING HANDS DO? We offer durable medical equipment to The Villages residents and their guests at no cost.  A list of our current equipment availability is posted on the VHA website, under the Helping Hands menu option at the top of the Home Page. WHERE DOES THE EQUIPMENT COME FROM? The equipment is either donated or purchased through generous contributions from caring Villages neighbors like yourself, and through fundraising events.  The 2020 operating budget for the Helping Hands program is $25,000. HOW DO I GET THE EQUIPMENT AND HOW LONG CAN I KEEP IT? To request a piece of DME, call us at (352) 973-2284 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday.  A coordinator will handle your request and normally have the equipment available for pick-up at The VHA office (1104 Main St., in Spanish Springs) the following workday. Because we are a short-term loan program, we ask that you return the equipment in 12 weeks or less so that it is available for another resident.   When residents need the equipment for a  longer period of time, we can adjust the time to allow you to work with your physician Medicare, or private health insurer to acquire the appropriate equipment. VOLUNTEERS NEED:  In order to improve our efficiency, we are seeking someone who has database experience to help us develop a tracking system for our equipment using bar codes.  If you are interested, please contact me. Our Board of Directors, plus our team of 70+ volunteers, believe that through our efforts we are enhancing  the well-being and lifestyle of many residents of The Villages. If you are interested in joining them as a volunteer, please contact me. To join our team give us a call at (352) 973-2284 or send an email to Thank You for the opportunity to serve, Bill Gottschalk President, The VHA Helping Hands, Inc.