If you've ever had to care for an ill grandparent or recovered from surgery yourself, you know how expensive medical equipment is.

For 28 years, Care Chest of Sierra Nevada has been providing everything from wheelchairs to diabetic supplies - to those who have no insurance or are under-insured, all free of charge.

 “We have about 15,000 people a year come through our doors,” says Kristen Kirkpatrick, Executive Director of Care Chest.

One of those people was Miguel Villarreal. He first arrived ten years ago after getting diagnosed with diabetes. He gets emotional remembering it: “I wouldn't be here talking to you right now if it wouldn't have been for this organization.”

Care Chest provided Miguel with test strips, insulin and syringes for years - at no cost to him. 

For some, it's durable equipment like crutches or a wheel chair, for others - wellness classes. The variety of services offered is impressive: "For independent living, we also have cash loan program, where people can borrow money from us at a low interest rate to make changes to their home so they can stay at home instead of in a facility,” explains Kirkpatrick.

One of the ways Care Chest is able to provide these critical resources with a popular fundraiser – “Bacon, Bourbon and Brews,” held this past weekend in Reno, brought about 500 people to Wingfield Park and raised tens of thousands of dollars.

 Much needed, says Kirkpatrick: "We provide about 1.3 million dollars a year in services and we are here entirely because of the donating public.”

If you want to help but can't donate cash, the group gratefully accepts gently used medical equipment, that they sanitize and re-purpose. You can also donate time as a volunteer. For Miguel, it's the right thing to do. 

"They helped me, I help them.”

Care Chest says they are now serving double the amount of clients they were three years ago and are always looking for ways to raise awareness.

To help or for more information, click link below.