Thu, Apr 22, 2021

BIDDEFORD — They say many hands make light work. This was certainly true Wednesday night, when members of the Saco Bay Sunset Rotary Club gathered to unload a donation of 430 mobility aids that will later be shipped to a developing country.

The trailer load of crutches, walkers, canes and other devices was driven up from Cape Cod that evening by Rotarian Dennis Robillard. The items were collected by Rotary clubs in Massachusetts.

The mobility aids were unpacked, sorted out and put away for temporary storage in a donated warehouse space in Biddeford. They will be part of the next local shipment that will be sent oversees through Crutches 4 Africa.

Crutches 4 Africa is a non-profit organization formed in 2006 by David Talbot. While in Uganda in 2005, Talbot saw polio survivors, disabled from the disease and shunned by their community. Talbot, a survivor of polio, discovered that back home in the United States, there were many lightly used crutches, canes, and other mobility aids in attics and garages. Often, after someone recovers from an injury, the mobility aid they needed while injured will be packed away and not used again.

These items that are collecting dust in attics and garages or clogging up landfills can change the life of a disabled person in a developing country. With a walker or a pair of crutches, they can become a productive member of their community.

Robillard, who spearheads local collection efforts for Crutches 4 Africa, estimates that over the past decade, local he and other area Rotarians have collected about 30,000 mobility aids that have been sent overseas.

Publisher Liz Gotthelf can be reached at