“Wheelchairs for kids” — That’s what this week’s Loving Giving Local donation will help buy at Shriners Children’s Erie.

The word “hospital” may no longer be part of their name but the mission continues. Children from six states and Canada come to Shriners in Erie for treatment of orthopedic issues.

While no longer a hospital per se, Shriners is busier than ever.

“Our volumes are incredible. The kids are receiving their outpatient pediatric orthopedic treatments here at Shriners Children’s Erie, but they’re doing so in an outpatient setting,” said David Schumacher, Shriners Children Erie. “Traditionally, about 10 years ago we transitioned from that hospital to the outpatient setting and now we’re serving more kids than ever,”

One of the fastest-growing areas of service at Shriners is speech therapy. One of the traditions that continue is that families who receive services, never have to worry about their ability to pay. 

“Years ago, free was the word, but now we work with the insurance companies. It’s regardless of a family’s ability to pay so if they are not able to meet deductibles or don’t have insurance, we work with those families and we’ll take care of those costs,” Schumacher added.

“The Shriners have been helping families and children in our community for over 100 years. To learn today that this donation is going to go to their wheelchair fund and it’s going to help a family or child in our community, that’s what Loving Giving Local is all about. Shriners has been doing it for over 100 years,” said Joe Askins, Auto Express Superstore.

The 10th annual Shriners Telethon for Children is coming up on March 14, live from the Millcreek Mall on JET 24 Action News. It’s your chance to help support the treatment and care provided to children who need it.