The Kay Samuels Lending Closet

A Ministry of Mercy For Our Community

Many people do not realize that Carter-Westminster United Presbyterian Church (C-WUPC) has a lending closet with medical equipment such as canes, walkers, commodes, shower benches, crutches and wheelchairs to provide for families in need. This durable medical equipment is loaned free of charge to anyone who needs it for as long as they need to use it. There is no geographical restriction for this essential service, and the time limit is flexible. The borrower does not need to be a Church member, or even be Presbyterian. There is one piece of paperwork: a waiver of liability, which they sign and date. In this way, we have their contact information and can follow up on the whereabouts of the items on loan.

As the person who handles the incoming donations and outgoing loans, I hear all the time that our Church is the only local resource that does not have restrictions such as the family being a resident of a particular town. While most of the requests are from Skokie, Lincolnwood, Evanston and Chicago, we have received requests from farther-away places such as Downers Grove, Melrose Park, and Highland Park. We have a flow of donations and requests all the time, and a large inventory of items. Here is a partial list: five wheelchairs, ten walkers, five shower benches, nine canes, three sets of crutches, and five commodes. Most of them are out on loan at this time, and if everyone were to return their borrowed items all at once, we would need more closet space to hold it all.

Take a peek inside the Kay Samuels Lending Closet, located on the lower level by Sawyier Hall. It is full to overflowing with durable medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, crutches, canes, and walkers, and there is much, much more out on loan. If everyone were to return their borrowed items all at once, we would need a much larger space to store all of it. Canes are hung on the pipe near the ceiling – a resourceful solution to the crowding!

 During this time of COVID-19, people have told me that other local lending closets are closed – not taking in donations and not lending out equipment. C-WUPC is the only place they could find to help with their need for medical items. Although the loan is free, from time to time a grateful family will make a donation to the Church as a token of their appreciation. Being able to donate is also helpful for people who need to clear out their space, and our acceptance of their items is vitally important. Donors typically receive a letter from the C-W office documenting the items to use for tax purposes.

I always ask “How did you hear about us?” – and the answers reveal that C-WUPC is on the list for hospitals, social workers, and the Village of Skokie to recommend. What a truly valuable community service we are performing – our Church is providing assistance to families with loved ones who otherwise would not be able to afford this equipment, and meeting an important need. The good reputation of C-WUPC as a community resource is spreading, and we will always be grateful to Kay Samuels for establishing this ministry in our Church.

She Did it From the Heart

Kay Samuels, who started the C-W Lending Closet, must have felt that there was a need for this special ministry of mercy. Sue Abraham, who knew Kay well, described her as “a true Christian,” and whatever Kay did, Sue said, “She did it from the heart.” With every loan of equipment to every patient we help, we honor the memory of Kay Samuels, who, in her love of God and love for our Church, established this legacy of loving service and caring for our community.

The Kay Samuels Lending Closet hours are by appointment Monday through Thursday. For more information, to donate, or to check on availability of an item, please call or email: 847-673-4441;