“It’s amazing when you hear a senior say, ‘I was hoping to see you again,’” said Anita Vandermark, president of the Walden Sunshine Society.
The Walden Sunshine Society loans out medical equipment for free for three month time periods or longer depending on what’s available. Equipment includes: wheelchairs, shower chairs, potty chairs, crutches and canes. “Although they do not have beds, we have the resources through other organizations to get them. Right now we are inundated with Walkers so if someone needs a walker, they are just given one. We just try to help where we are needed.”
“We support other groups like the WCC and the Montgomery Food Pantry, but the big thing of course is the equipment. Our name is at St. Luke’s and Orange Regional for people in need, but our equipment is basically for Town of Montgomery residents,” said Vandermark. “We also help out in the Hamlet of Wallkill and Pine Bush, and because the cities don’t have any organizations like this, we are also a valuable resource for many people in need throughout the region. We have just about everything.”
Vandermark’s community involvement doesn’t stop at Sunshine. She sits on so many boards which involve helping others, just thinking about where she finds the time makes your head spin. “It’s nice to be acknowledged, but that’s not why we do it. The best part about this is the community outreach. I could share story after story of how this touches people’s lives, and that is what makes this organization so great. It gives me such great satisfaction.”
They try to get the word out about the organization which has been around for over 100 years, but there are still many people who don’t know this organization exists. Sometimes people need equipment before they are able to come home, and this helps people coming out of rehab or the hospital much faster so they are able to be mobile and get back into their home.
Member dues for the Walden Sunshine Society are only $5 a year, so any donations are used to replace and repair medical equipment. “We want to keep the medical equipment in the good condition for the people who need it,” said Vandermark.
Aside from helping out with the medical equipment, members visit home bound seniors and make friendly visits twice a year to the Montgomery Nursing Home. “They love Joe’s music,” said Vandermark. “We had such a crowd. If anyone needs a friendly call or needs something, they can call us. Around the holidays we send out cards and bring gift bags with little loaves of bread and packets of hot chocolate to people. They can’t wait to get them.”
The Walden Sunshine Society will visit the Montgomery Nursing Home again on October 25th. They usually start at 1:30 p.m. so if you want to come and join them bring a little sunshine to the seniors, please do so. Homemade baked goods are welcome.
“I’m so blessed to be able to do things for people,” said Vandermark.
Contact The Walden Sunshine Society: Anita Vandermark (845) 778-7772 or Ginny McFadden (845) 778-7236 or Rebecca McNally (845) 527-1221 or Sue Van Dyne (845) 778-3532 The equipment is located at Olley Park in Walden. Call to set up an appointment.