WELCOME to the American Wheelchair Mission Page.
The Iowa Knights of Columbus began their involvement in the wheelchair program in July of 2006 under the direction of then State Deputy Michael P. Gaspers. The program got off to a great start. At the first meeting where the program was announced we passed the hat and were able to collect $911.00 to get the ball rolling.
In October of 2008, Iowa purchased 110 chairs as part of a 560 chair shipment to the Mexico City area. This was a historic event in as much as it involved the Knights of USA, Canada, and Mexico. It was a first!
Again in December of 2011 the Iowa Knights purchased a sea container of 110 chairs bound for Haiti. This time we partnered with the Knights of Columbus from Puerto Rico. They were also able to send along walkers, canes, and other devices. We expect that the chairs to arrive in Haiti by the end of 2012. Once they hit Port-au-Prince, it is estimated that it will take 3 to 4 months to finalize the shipment. The wheels of charity sometimes get clogged, but be assured that when the wheelchairs are distributed they will be able to change the lives of so many in need. At a low cost of $150.00, a wheelchair can be shipped to virtually anywhere around the globe and change someone’s life forever.
It is interesting to note that over the years, several councils and even individuals have been creative in helping to raise funds. Early in the program, an individual member of Council#11038 in Sioux City, who was a stay at home husband, put his talent to work and solicited donations from professionals looking for a good and worthwhile cause. His efforts netted over $5,000. A District Deputy from central Iowa organized a poker run which netted over $870.00.
Another individual organized a fundraiser which resulted in the fund growing by $5,100 in one shot. This is the record donation to date, held by Fairfax Council #11942. They are the ones to beat if your council is working on a fundraiser. I would suggest that you show the DVD that you have available. It tells the story in a fashion that words just cannot.
At this time the balance in the general fund is $1,232.00 so we need to keep the program alive. Also, this year this is one of the featured programs from Supreme Council. If a Council can purchase a whole container with 100 wheelchairs, the Council will receive credit for the 4 community activities for the Columbian award!
Can it be done? Of course! However any help to promote the American Wheelchair Mission can go a long way. Imagine each of the 230 councils buying ONE WHEELCHAIR every year, our state would send almost seven containers in 3 years! That is how much a small effort of $150 of your Community activities budget can achieve. The way $150 dollars can change a life is way beyond our imagination. Dedicate a pancake breakfast to buy one or two wheelchairs. Use the Wheelchair Sunday Booklet in your fundraisers so people can see what they are helping achieve.
Jerry A. Wells
Wheelchair Fund Chairman
856 Division Street
Webster City, lA 50595-21 l0