Molly Hoadley, founder of No Place Like Home, said the Medical Equipment Loan Closet is expected to be up and running in September. Hoadley is shown with equipment that was to be cleaned and sanitized by students taking part in a restorative justice project one day last week. Tammy Wells photo

KENNEBUNK – Need a pair of crutches to help get around while recovering from an injury, a seat to make the shower safer, or perhaps a wheelchair or some other piece of medical equipment?

The people at No Place Like Home will soon be able to help.

The nonprofit, all-volunteer organization will take over the town-operated Medical Equipment Loan Closet that closed in December. When it ceased operation, town officials expressed the sentiment that the closure was temporary – and so it is.

No Place Like Home founder Molly Hoadley said the target date for re-starting the loan closet is September.

She said the nonprofit group got involved simply because they wanted to continue the mission.

The closet was created by Kennebunk’s Committee on Aging.

No Place like Home was created by Hoadley after she attended a conference on aging in 2014. Volunteers help older adults stay in their homes and neighborhoods as long as they wish. Volunteers change light bulbs, install grab bars, do small weatherization jobs, and perform other small tasks to improve home safety, at no cost, according to its website.

On a recent weekday, York County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jason Solomon, a school resource officer, was supervising three high school students who were cleaning and disinfecting the equipment. The trio of young people wiped down shower chairs, crutches, commodes, and other equipment, disassembling as necessary in order to make sure each piece was washed before being sanitized.

Students taking part in a restorative justice project clean and sanitize medical equipment in mid-July. the nonprofit volunteer group No Place like Home will operate the closet. Tammy Wells photo

The three were taking part in a restorative justice initiative – they earlier admitted to a prank and could have been charged with a crime, but authorities chose a different route.

York County Sheriff William King said his agency consults with York County District Attorney Kathryn Slattery on decisions on restorative justice initiatives that keep people out of the criminal justice system.

“Oftentimes, once in the system, even for a minor offense, the stigma follows you indefinitely,” said King. “Some people have been denied joining the military and shut out of jobs … because of a minor indiscretion. Restorative justice teaches impressionable minds about the devastating affect that criminal conduct has on others.”

Solomon said the work sanitizing medical equipment was a component of the 50 hours of community service each of the students was to complete. They’ve picked up trash and done other tasks to help complete their commitment. The trio, usually joined by a fourth student, complete their assignments in four-hour increments. Solomon noted some of them also have summer jobs.

One of the students said the group volunteered at a food pantry, washed school bus windows, and completed similar tasks.

“I’ve learned my lesson,” said one of the trio.

The select board recently approved the plan that transferred the equipment loan program to No Place Like Home. The nonprofit group as acquired insurance to operate the program, said Town Manager Mike Pardue, and the town has insurance on a storage unit where the items are slated to be kept.

Comments are not available on this story.