By Austin Sheeley

Do you have a used wheelchair, walker, cane, or crutches you no longer need? Why not donate them?

For the past eight years, Wheels for the World has been delivering wheelchairs and bibles to more than 22 developing countries. “Even one wheelchair – that’s one more life that’s going to be changed” said Cindy Leonard, Wheels for the World’s New England representative.

Once the mobility aids are collected, they are sent to the MCI-Shirley prison where inmates restore the devices to their original condition. According to Leonard, the inmates are “invested and… dedicated to their ministry.”

Wheels for the World is part of the Joni and Friends International Disability Center, founded by Joni Eareckson Tada. In 1967, a driving accident left Joni without the use of her arms or legs. But after two years of rehabilitation, Joni was determined to make the most of her life and help others in similar situations. Learning to paint by holding a brush between her teeth, Joni soon became a sought-after artist. Then in 1976 her autobiography “Joni” became a bestseller. Soon after, Joni started Joni and Friends. They’ve been helping families affected by disability ever since.

Leonard, who lives with rheumatoid arthritis and often uses a wheelchair herself, became involved with Wheels for the World after attending a Joni and Friends family retreat. “It caught my heart from the first drive I did in 2002; I’ve been dedicated ever since.”

If you would like to donate a wheelchair or other mobility device, just visit the Wheels for the World page at http://www.joniandfriends.org/wheels-for-the-world/ and type in your zip code to find a local drop-off location. Or call Joni and Friends at 818 707-5664.