People across Utah engaged in a particular form of aluminum recycling Saturday — dropping off used crutches and other medical support equipment at 11 locations.
The donation program, called LeanOn Utah, is designed to fill a gap in the availability of crutches, walkers, canes and non-motorized wheelchairs.
Supply-chain issues are creating a shortage for such equipment, and the aluminum used to make them, said Don Williams, supply chain manager for Intermountain Medical Center in Murray — one of the 11 locations that was taking donations Saturday.
“We sent out a message to the community, to say, ‘Hey, if you’ve got extra items in your homes, if it’s just decorating your garage or basement, bring them in. Donate them back to the community,’ ” Williams said.
The community responded. An Intermountain Healthcare spokesman tweeted Saturday that someone had left crutches and canes by the entrance to IMC’s Eccles Outpatient Care Center before the collection officially started at 10 a.m. (Both the Intermountain and Steward Health systems are providing drop-off locations.)
Members of a Methodist congregation “came by with two truckloads,” Williams said.
Volunteers took in the metal items, checked them over, and sanitized them before loading them into large cardboard boxes on pallets. (Wooden crutches and canes are not being accepted, because of the difficulty of sanitizing them.)
The need is particularly great in the winter. According to the Utah Hospital Association, November and December are the busiest months for orthopedic surgeries. The donated support items will be given to patients in need, free of charge.
The LeanOn Utah donation drive will continue for two more Saturdays, Nov. 6 and 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at these locations:
• Davis Hospital, 1600 W. Antelope Drive, Layton.
• Intermountain Homecare Ogden, 3776 Wall Ave., South Ogden.
• Intermountain Homecare South Jordan, 11520 S. Redwood Road, South Jordan.
• Intermountain Medical Center, building 2, 5169 S. Cottonwood St., Murray.
• Jordan Valley Medical Center, 3580 W. 900 South, South Jordan.
• Jordan Valley West, 3460 S. 1400 West, West Valley City.
• Logan Regional Hospital, 500 E. 1400 North, Logan.
• Mountain Point Medical Center, 3000 Triumph Blvd., Lehi.
• Salt Lake Regional Medical Center, 1050 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City.
• St. George Regional Medical Center, entrance 3, 1380 E. Medical Center Drive, St. George.
• Utah Valley Hospital, entrance 1 (Pedersen Tower), 940 N. 500 West, Provo.
For more information, go to LeanOnUtah.com.