Founded in 1986 by Ed and the late Annie Butchart, Friends of Disabled Adults and Children exists to provide refurbished home medical equipment to people of all ages and abilities who need it. What started as a humble charity operating from the Butchart’s home garage has since grown to become the largest domestic reuse provider of gently used home medical equipment in the country, according to FODAC’s current president Chris Brand. FODAC collects used HME from the public and partners, refurbishes it and provides it at little or no cost to clients throughout the country and beyond.
“All 50 states have received something through the years since ‘86 [as well as] in four territories and 86 countries,” said Brand, who joined the organization in 2001.
FODAC provides items like hospital beds, hoyer lifts, shower seats, pediatric equipment, walkers and wheelchairs among other items to the clients they serve.
“All the things that someone might have been using or maybe they rehabbed and got better, and now they don’t need those things anymore. Or a child outgrows a piece of equipment and they need a new one, but the other one was still in good shape. We would take all of those kinds of things and get them in our pipeline, clean them, fix them up, and provide to other folks who need them,” Brand described.
FODAC is a green reuse organization, meaning that they strive to ensure that nothing goes to waste.
“We give away things that we can’t use and that’s typically what goes overseas — wound care items, catheters, oxygen related equipment,” Brand explained.
They also divert equipment they can’t use to other community partners or hospital systems when possible.
“We try to keep it local first, but if we can’t, it’ll go overseas,” he said.
FODAC is based just east of Atlanta in Tucker, Georgia, and currently supplies several sites throughout the state and the Southeast.
“We’ve been delivering to 11 places, 10 in Georgia and one in South Carolina on a quarterly basis for probably seven years now . . . We have a huge heart for Georgia especially,” he stated.
FODAC serves Augusta, Darien, Waycross, Rome, Athens and Oakwood among other state locales and has been partnering with Savannah for some time. The nonprofit is gearing up to operate a second location in Savannah, which is expected to open in the near future. To raise awareness and funding for the Savannah site, the organization is hosting the FODAC Savannah Music Fest.
Headlining the event is ‘90s rock band Cracker with performances by Stewart and Winfield, Thomas Claxton, Anne-Marie Perry and Social People with the Inglesbys.
“We did our first music fest in Atlanta earlier this year in February, and it was a really wonderful opportunity to raise funds and do something different. Because we’re moving into Savannah, we thought this would be a fantastic place to have a concert for awareness and [introducing] who we are to the community and getting people engaged,” Brand said.
He encourages community members to attend the music fest to enjoy great music and good times for a good cause.
“It will be a lot of fun, and even if people can’t make it to that concert, they could make a donation online to support our effort. We’d love for folks, even if they can’t make it, to sponsor our Savannah rollout,” Brand remarked.
In addition to attending the music fest and donating online, the public can support FODAC by volunteering.
“There will be definite volunteer opportunities there as far as helping us process and triage equipment and sort it. There will be collection drives that people can be a part of. . . We love to have volunteers engaged,” he added.
He is excited about the move into Savannah and to continue working with and serving the local community.
“We’ve been coming to Savannah for some time. We’re not new to understanding the needs of the community and the partners down there,” said Brand. “We’re just having a brick-and-mortar location for the first time and that’s fantastic.”
The FODAC Savannah Music Fest will take place September 23 from 5 to 10 p.m. at Coach’s Corner. Visit fodac.org for more information about the organization and how to get involved.