By Jim Miller
Dear Savvy Senior,
Where are some good places to donate old hearing aids, eyeglasses and mobility equipment? My uncle passed away a few months ago and left behind a bunch of useful aids that could surely help someone else.
Donating old, unused assistive living aids or medical equipment is a great way to help those in need who can’t afford it, and in most cases its tax deductible too. Here are some good places to check into.
There are several national nonprofit service organizations that offer hearing aid recycling programs. Hearing aids that are donated are usually refurbished and either redistributed to those in need or resold with the proceeds going to buy new hearing aids for people who can’t afford them.
One of the most popular places to donate old hearing aids, as well as hearing aid parts or other assistive listening devices is the Starkey Hearing Foundation “Hear Now” recycling program (starkeyhearingfoundation.org, 800-328-8602), which collects around 60,000 hearing aids a year. Hearing aids and other listening devices should be sent to: Starkey Hearing Foundation, ATTN: Hearing Aid Recycling, 6700 Washington Ave. S., Eden Prairie, MN 55344.
Some other good nonprofits to donate to are the Lions Club Hearing Aid Recycling Program (go to lionsclubs.org and search for: HARP), and Hearing Charities of America (hearingaiddonations.org, 816-333-8300), which is founded by Sertoma, a civic service organization dedicated to hearing health.
Or, if you’re interested in donating locally, contact your Hearing Loss Association of America state or local chapter (see hearingloss.org for contact information). They can refer you to state agencies or community service programs that also accept hearing aids.
One of the best places to donate old eyeglasses is to the Lions Club Recycle for Sight program. They collect nearly 30 million pairs of glasses each year and distribute them to people in need in developing countries.
To donate, look for a Lion’s Club glasses donation drop-off box in your community. You can often find them at libraries, community centers, churches, schools and many local eye doctor offices or call your local Lions Club for drop-off locations. See directory.lionsclubs.org for contact information.
New Eyes (www.new-eyes.org/recycle) is another nonprofit organization that collects unused eyeglasses and distributes them abroad to people in need.
If you have old wheelchairs, walker, canes, shower chairs or other durable medical equipment, there are many foundations and organizations that would love to receive them. For example, Goodwill and Salvation Army stores are popular donation destinations, as are foundations like the ALS Association (alsa.org) and Muscular Dystrophy Association (mda.org), which accept donations at local chapters.
There are also state agencies and local nonprofit organizations that accept medical equipment donations and redistribute them to people in need. To find what’s available in your area, contact your state assistive technologies program for a referral. See ataporg.org/programs for contact information.
Or, if you’re interested in selling your uncles old medical equipment, you have options here too, including craigslist.com, recycledmedical.com and usedhme.com, which are all free sites that let you list what you want to sell online.
Don’t forget that donations to nonprofits are tax-deductible, so when you drop off your donated items, be sure to ask for a receipt for your tax records. Or, if you’re mailing it in or are using one of the Lions Club drop-off boxes, you’ll need to include a note requesting a letter of acknowledgement of the donation. Your note should include your name and a brief description of what you donated, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit www.savvysenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.