Helping Lions

Lions Clubs provide help in areas some people would rather not think about. For instance, they hold drives to collect used sunglasses, but then there’s also the Lions Eye Bank of Delmarva. It’s a donor bank for corneal tissue.

Coastal Point • SAM HARVEY: John Driscoll is spearheading the efforts of the Lord Baltimore Lions Club to match people with needed medical supplies donated by others in the community.Coastal Point • SAM HARVEY:
John Driscoll is spearheading the efforts of the Lord Baltimore Lions Club to match people with needed medical supplies donated by others in the community.

While local Lions do raise funds for youth activities (Little League, for instance) and scholarships, and support programs like Habitat for Humanity, for young working families, much of the services they provide are for folks who need hospital beds, wheelchairs, walkers and other medical equipment.

But it’s not all grim work — Lord Baltimore Lions’ John Driscoll has matched people with the equipment they need for nearly 10 years now, and he said he’d been amazed more than once at the way things just seemed to work themselves out.

Once, Driscoll said, a pastor from a local church had called looking for a mechanical hospital bed. The Lions didn’t have any (though they have an excess of hand-crank models), but he told the pastor they’d be on the lookout. The very next day, someone called wanting to donate a mechanical hospital bed. The church had jumped at the offer.

Another time, he said, they had absolutely everything out on loan, when a medical supply business on Long Neck suddenly donated three beds at once, along with some other items Driscoll characterized as “top shelf.”

“We’ve never had to purchase a shower bench or hospital bed,” he added.

And sometimes, the Lions receive a generous donation just for hauling equipment away. Driscoll said they’d once garnered a $500 tip for rustling up a truck and helpers on a Saturday to remove a bed from a house in South Bethany.

That’s the exception to the rule — typically, people offer a donation when they want to borrow equipment, not when they’re giving it away. But even then, any gift was 100 percent voluntary, Driscoll emphasized.

“Two able-bodied men and a pickup truck, and you’ve got yourself a bed,” he said.

Even there, the Lions often lend a hand, when they have some spare time, according to Driscoll’s wife, Charlotte. In many circumstances, she said, Medicaid might cover rental of medical equipment — but in other cases, those in need might not qualify.

For instance, the Lord Baltimore Lions provided a bed for a family with a severely handicapped child when they were in the area for a week’s vacation, she said. According to the Driscolls, the Lions often field requests from regular seasonal visitors, who ask for this or that piece of equipment the same time every year.

Not that there is a time limit. Driscoll noted the expense involved in renting — he said they’d received a call from one elderly lady who was paying $250 per month for her bed and after four months, simply couldn’t afford it anymore. He advised her to call the suppliers and have them come take the bed back, and the Lions would come in right behind them with a donated bed.

He said the Lions are always looking for additional equipment: electric beds only, shower benches and chairs, commodes, walkers, canes and wheelchairs (manual, not electric).

And if the Lord Baltimore Lions ever find they have more equipment than they can manage, he said they work something out with colleagues at the Fenwick Island or Selbyville-Indian River Lions Clubs. (Driscoll also sent out a thank-you to Rep. Gerald Hocker for donating the storage space.)

To request a loaner, or for more information about the Lord Baltimore Lions’ medical equipment program, contact John Driscoll at (302) 539-7037.