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Nonprofit providing medical equipment may shut down without new storage space

Saving Our Seniors Executive Director Kelli Casto must find a new place for her 3,000 medical items by Friday.

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Elizabeth Rubright’s red powerchair has gotten a lot of use since it arrived a few months ago. The senior no longer feels like – as she puts it – a “hermit."

“It was just an answer to prayer, said Rubright. “It means my independence. It means regaining my confidence.”

The chair was hand-delivered by Kelli Casto. Rubright is one of the many seniors who have been helped by Casto’s nonprofit Saving Our Seniors. She started it six years ago with the hopes of helping cash-strapped seniors like Rubright who desperately need medical equipment but don’t necessarily have the funds to obtain them.

“I want to help as many people as I can,” Casto said Tuesday afternoon from the overcrowded storage unit she’s been renting for a year in Clearwater.

The space, which is about 2,500 square feet, is large enough to store her more than 3,000 pieces of donated medical equipment. There are power chairs, walkers, toilets, wheelchairs, and more from floor to ceiling.

The problem is she has to leave in three days.

“I’m trying to keep the faith,” she said.

She’s been asked to leave her storage space. That means she’ll need a new home for her supplies. She doesn’t have the money to buy a new space and still have funds left over to purchase

It’s the kind of problem nonprofits can’t easily handle.

“She’s delivered that. She found this scooter, put a new battery in, made sure it was checked out that it was working properly, and delivered it to my door. Now, you can’t ask for better service than that,” said Rubright, who has known Casto for two years. “She’s turned my life around.”

Casto is hoping to find someone willing to donate or financially support a storage space for her medical equipment. She works a full-time job as an occupational therapist during the week near her St. Petersburg home and delivers the medical equipment across a five-county area after work.

“Bringing somebody a shower chair or a bag of pull-ups, you’re thinking ‘Oh, okay, I’m helping you’, but they truly become, I think, sometimes even my lifelong friend,” she said.

Saving Our Seniors has helped over 5,000 people in six years. Finding a new space will ensure that number keeps growing.

“It’s just too important to see this service fold up,” said Rubright.

For more information on the nonprofit call 727-537-6753.

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