Four Catholic churches in the Good Shepherd Parish are collecting crutches and canes for ‘“Crutches 4 Africa,’ an organization that has collected, shipped, and distributed more than 120,000 mobility devices to 19 African countries. SUBMITTED PHOTO

SACO — Boxes at churches in Good Shepherd Parish will continue to fill with crutches, canes, and wheelchairs, all to help fill the hearts and needs of Africans without access to reliable mobility devices.

The process is part of Good Shepherd Parish’s support of “Crutches 4 Africa,” an organization that has collected, shipped, and distributed over 120,000 mobility devices to 19 African countries.

“Once our boxes are filled, we can call Dan Robillard of Saco Rotary, who is also a parishioner, to come and empty them so new donations can be placed inside,” said Bonnie Buechs, social justice chairperson for Good Shepherd Parish in Saco.

The effort has been around for more than a decade and is making a difference in the lives of countless Africans in need of assistance.

“While in Uganda in 2005, I saw people who had survived the disease of polio. Often, they are rejected in their communities,” said Dave Talbot, founder of “Crutches 4 Africa.” “I realized that many people have a lightly-used mobility device they no longer need from a twisted ankle, ski accident, or operation. I saw crutches at garage sales, in dumpsters and, unfortunately, in containers headed to landfills. I knew that I had to do something.”

Thus “Crutches 4 Africa” was born and plenty of charitable organizations across the country were quick to respond with support for the cause, including Good Shepherd Parish.

“We’ve done this for many years,” said Buechs. “Their mission is to deliver the mobility devices and distribute them for free regardless of a person’s race, gender, tribe, age, or religion. This project makes a huge difference for so many people and we are glad to offer a little helping hand.”

The four Good Shepherd Parish churches offering donation boxes for crutches, canes, or wheelchairs include Most Holy Trinity Church, 271 Main St. in Saco, St. Joseph Church, 178 Elm St. in Biddeford, St. Philip Church, 404 Goodwins Mills Road in Lyman and St. Margaret Church, 6 Saco Ave. in Old Orchard Beach.

For more information about the donation project, call Good Shepherd Parish at 282-3321.

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