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'Project Mend' losing state grant for disabled veterans

Funds for specialized medical equipment run out June 30

SAN ANTONIO – Known as one of the few if not the only non-profit agency offering refurbished medical equipment at little or no cost to those in need, Project Mend last July began providing disabled veterans and their families with items not normally found in their vast inventory of donations.

Cathy Valdez, Project Mend's executive director, said an $85,000 grant from the Texas Veterans Commission helped cover the cost of assistive technology devices, such as hearing aids, wheelchair ramps and vehicle modifications.

Recommended by physicians or occupational therapists, Valdez said, "These are specialized items that need to be fitted or specialized to the client themselves."

She said the agency had helped 100 veterans over the past year.

But with the grant ending June 30, Valdez said Project Mend only will be able to help half that many.

"It's probably going to be that kind of drastic cut, unfortunately," Valdez said.

She said her agency will re-apply for funding, but it is a highly competitive process among non-profit agencies.

Valdez said she is hoping the community will help fill in the gap with contributions, perhaps in honor of veterans in their families.

Otherwise, she said Project Mend is the only agency in San Antonio or the state of Texas to provide this type of assistance, so veterans may find few other options.