Making a difference in our community is what The Lending Room is all about. As an all-volunteer organization dedicated to accepting and distributing gently used medical equipment, the mission is simple. Anyone in need of rehabilitative equipment for long or short-term needs can call and receive it regardless of income or insurance.
In 1961 Natalie Haskell (a member of the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Women’s Auxiliary) established The Lending Room to provide free medical equipment to discharged hospital patients. At its inception, there was only one drug store (Luther’s Pharmacy) in Beaufort with a delay in ordering and receiving needed equipment. In 1968, at age 87, Haskell resigned her charge of The Lending Room and Mrs. Sam Smith took over the project. A year later, Mrs. Becky Trask was named the Chairwoman of the organization. She lovingly fostered the community service organization for more than 40 years. In 2009, at age 81, Becky approached Martha O’Reagan about taking over. The two had met when Martha had come to The Lending Room seeking equipment for her mother. She currently shares the duties of running the organization with her colleagues, Roxanne Cheney, Carolyn Roos and Lori Wells.
At first the equipment was stored in a relative’s basement, and then moved to a city-owned house at Pigeon Point. When that was destroyed by fire, former City Councilman Dick Stewart offered rent free space in a building he owns on Baggett Street for storage that also housed HELP of Beaufort. The Lending Room’s early success was due to the public's limited access to medical equipment. Today, The Lending Room serves a vital purpose in the community by accepting donations of, as well as distributing durable medical equipment to anyone who has a need. Many people generously donate items such as shower/tub seats and benches, wheelchairs, canes, crutches, walkers, bedside commodes, etc. when no longer needed to make this service possible.
We had been at our previous location for 18+ years free of rent at 1910 Baggett Street where we were collaborative partners with HELP of Beaufort. As of spring 2019, Low Country Habitat for Humanity completed our new facility at 616B Parris Island Gateway in Beaufort where we currently reside.
The Lending Room, Inc. became a 501(c)(3) organization in March 2013 permitting those that donate equipment to request a tax receipt for income tax purposes. Likewise, any monetary donation is tax deductible to the extent of the law.