Two hundred disabled Costa Ricans Saturday received gifts that could significantly improve their lives when the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, in coordination with the government’s Office of Social Aid, donated 200 wheelchairs during an activity in San José’s National Gymnasium.
Recipients were selected through a study to determine whether they could afford a wheelchair, which costs about ¢400,000 ($770), explained Office of Social Aid director Mariángela Ortiz, according to a statement from Casa Presidencial.
The church hopes to donate another 250 wheelchairs before the end of the year, said church representative Luis Gerardo Chaverri.
“God’s word reminds us of the story of the Good Samaritan, who helped people who were in bad situations, with a good heart and without hoping for anything in return. This is more or less what we want to do, help children, youth and elderly who are in difficult situations,” he said.
As part of this donation project, the Office of Social Aid worked to create a national database of wheelchair recipients.
The idea is to prevent “abuse” of charitable groups’ goodwill and allow these groups to coordinate in their efforts, Ortiz explained.
“Thanks to our experience, we have realized that there are people who use this help improperly and have two or three wheelchairs, which hinders the goal of giving one wheelchair to every poor disabled person in Costa Rica,” she said.
The activity was complete with a basketball game played by young people in wheelchairs, the statement said.