Lori Clay’s first impression upon walking into the Goodwill HELPs workshop was, “Goldmine.” It is, she explains, not only a treasure trove of equipment: wheelchairs, canes, hospital beds, walkers and more. It is also a huge community asset.
“That is why I was drawn to Goodwill,” she said. “It was based on my wanting to help people, helping the community and those less fortunate. What I receive from this job makes me humble and happy knowing that I am giving back.” Lori, 41, has one month’s experience under her belt as Goodwill’s HELPs Supervisor. She succeeds David Carroll who worked with Goodwill for about 10 years, but recently moved to Georgia to be closer to his family.
HELPs (Health Equipment Link Program services) matches durable medical equipment available in the HELPs storehouse with people who need it in 23 counties in SE Tennessee and NW Georgia. Now in its 18th year of operations, HELPs is unique among similar services offered by Goodwill agencies. Chattanooga Goodwill’s HELPs gives away the equipment absolutely free. There is no income requirement, though recipients are often underinsured or on limited incomes.
Lori’s Goodwill days have been busy, she said. She estimates HELPs has contact either by phone, online or in person with about 100 people a day. She supervises and coordinates a staff of three, which includes SCSEP employees and sometimes clients. She has also been busy whittling down a waiting list of about 200 people, with bath benches and bath chairs being the most requested item. Goodwill gives away about 350 pieces of equipment every month.
Lori comes to Goodwill with 20 years’ experience as a certified nursing assistant. She has worked in hospitals, long term care operations, as a house manager for residents with disabilities, even as a mental health technician. Throw in a good dose of customer service experience, and she is well suited for a position that requires diplomacy along with some technical knowledge.
She grew up in Chattanooga, and as a single mother, raised three children, one of whom is now in college. It’s an accomplishment of which she is proud, and Lori herself hopes to complete her degree online this year.
If you or someone you know needs medical equipment, apply online at GoodwillChatt.org or call (423) 629-2501, ext. 3150. Equipment can be picked up at the main Goodwill office, 3500 Dodds Avenue in Chattanooga, or at one’s nearest Goodwill store in the Chattanooga Goodwill service area of SE Tennessee or NW Georgia.