PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Volunteers are refurbishing dozens of wheelchairs this week that will go to help people all over Allegheny County.

Chris Meyer has been a volunteer at a small wheelchair repair shop for about four years now.

Typically, he helps other dedicated volunteers refurbish about six wheelchairs a week; but this week, the goal is 50. All of the effort is to help out the Red Cross in Allegheny County.

Global Links, a Pittsburgh-based medical relief organization, was contacted by the Red Cross.

“The local disaster preparedness unit contacted us earlier this summer, looking for mobility devices to be included in the trailers that are staged throughout western Pennsylvania, in case of disaster,” said Angela Garcia, of Global Links.

The wheelchairs, in a variety of conditions, were all donated by people in the community and health care facilities. Trained volunteers work to get them in good shape.

“We vinyl patch if there are tears in the upholstery, sometimes the more extensive repairs involve replacing the wheels, axels, the foot rests,” said Meyer. “What I’m working on now is trying to find a pair of foot rests that match.”

The work can be tough and time consuming, but Meyer says it well worth it.

“You can’t help but look at one of the small, pediatric wheelchairs and have it tug at your heartstrings, that’s what keeps me coming back,” said Meyer.

Once the 50 wheelchairs for the Red Cross are complete, volunteers won’t be slowing down. There’s about 150 wheelchairs that still need work.

They’ll go to local non-profits, as well as places like Honduras and Haiti.

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