Group refurbishes recycled power wheelchairs, gives them away for free

Last year, Stavros and their partners repaired 820 items, saving the state $1.6 million.

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s a resource you may not know about, that could be saving your family, thousands of dollars.

At first glance, the Stavros Center workshop in Amherst is filled with gizmos and gadgets, with strewn pieces of wheelchairs and power chairs – but this is where the staff turns trash into treasure.

Stavros Center in Amherst takes donated wheelchairs, scooters, shower chairs and power chairs, and refurbishes them. Each item gets what they need to look as new as possible: new batteries, deep cleaning, the works.

The items are then listed online, and anyone can claim them for free.

“It’s not about making money,” said Transportation and Equipment Manager, Tom Filiault. “It’s about recycling the equipment that’s already there, and it’s just going to save the state eventually millions of dollars.”

It’s how Tory Dixon got her power chair. “Even though I have insurance,” Dixon told 22News. “It may help me pay for part of it. It wouldn’t cover all of it.”

Dixon says it would’ve been a 6 month wait. “I would’ve been in a lot of pain, which is not where I want to be, so with this, I don’t have to be in pain.”

The problem is, a lot of this great equipment is rolling on out of western Massachusetts. A lot of the items that you see here are claimed by people from the Boston area, when they could be claimed by our local neighbors.

“We’re not seeing too many people requesting equipment on our site,” Filiault said. “So we’re saying, ‘What’s going on? We need to get the word out about the program.'”

Last year, Stavros and their partners repaired 820 items, saving the state $1.6 million.

To donate or pick up an item, click here.