Canadian Red Cross Health Equipment Loan Program (HELP)
Our Impact Why We Exist
The mission of the Canadian Red Cross is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world. In the South Okanagan, programs are focused around health equipment loans, violence and abuse prevention, disaster management, first aid training and water safety.
Our Story What We Do
The British Columbia HELP Program began modestly in 1947 as a small number of Red Cross Sickroom Supply Loan Cupboards, usually operated out of local hospitals. In its first year of operations, Red Cross volunteers provided medical equipment to 104 British Columbians, the majority of them WWII veterans receiving care at home. In the last decade alone, HELP volunteers provided over 1,000,000 articles of medical equipment to sick, injured and palliative British Columbians. In 2017, HELP will have been serving the province for 70 years.
Our Programs How We Do It
When a community member is struck down by a car accident, a fall, or an age-related joint injury, even a healthy person can be left helpless in a home and community built for the able-bodied. Once injured, vulnerability to fall and re-injury is dramatically heightened. In an instant, anyone can join this at-risk population. For someone in perfect health, it can be difficult to accept that they might someday be in urgent need of a wheelchair, a walker, or a raised toilet seat until suddenly and unpredictably, they are. For those in crisis, the HELP program provides free, short-term loans of essential medical equipment that allows people to safely recover at home, to participate in community life, and to get back to their lives. There are few organizations in the world that can harness the power of volunteerism as effectively and efficiently as the Red Cross. With over 900 passionate volunteers who work tirelessly to serve their communities, the volunteer to staff ratio is extraordinarily low. This level of volunteerism makes the HELP program highly lean and extremely efficient. In Fiscal 2015-16, HELP volunteers served more than 84,000 mostly senior British Columbians with nearly 160,000 articles of free (by donation) medical equipment.
What You Can Do
Volunteer with your local Red Cross Team!
The Canadian Red Cross offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities. We encourage you to explore the many volunteer postings on our website to see what is available in your community. We also encourage you to contact your local Red Cross office to learn more about opportunities to volunteer.
In the South Okanagan, three 100% volunteer-run HELP Offices are always looking for new volunteers. Please contact your local HELP Depot in Princeton, Oliver or Penticton for more information.