A local organization is preparing for their annual fundraiser, with the money raised to go to a good cause.

JOPLIN — A local organization is preparing for their annual fundraiser, with the money raised to go to a good cause.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6, the Southwest Missouri Arthritis Association will host their annual chili/soup luncheon event at 819 E. Ninth St., Joplin. The lunch will include homemade chili, soup, dessert and drink all for $5 and is open to everyone.

"Franklin Technology has catering classes. We buy all of the ingredients, they make the chili, they make the vegetable soup and they put it all together for us," said Ilene Bates, office manager/grant writer for the organization. "(The money raised) is actually used to replace some of the equipment. We are not really affiliated with arthritis (organization), 28 years ago; we sort of changed our mission, but never changed our name. What we really do is we rent medical equipment to people to make their lives easier at home when they get home from a hospital and it helps their caregivers as well. And the medical equipment is rented on a monthly basis, very, very low price. So what the fundraiser does is enables us to replace some of the worn and used equipment so that we will have the equipment that is new, clean and safe and ready to go."

According to the organization's mission statement, "is to offer support to people with disabilities temporary or permanent by providing medical equipment to facilitate a more functional and comfortable home environment."

"It is difficult when people go home from a hospital and they can't get around for several weeks and maybe they need walkers or commodes or shower chairs or electric beds, we rent all sorts of things," Bates said. "So it is really important that they have enough equipment at home to make their stay at home comfortable. And it really helps their caregivers as well."

Even though they are not directly associated with the National Arthritis Association, they do have information they can pass along to those needing information about arthritis and other various diseases.

"That is a difficulty, most people know who we are or what we do, all they know is arthritis association and if they don't have arthritis, it never occurs to them that we might have a service to help them," Bates said. "Which is the main purpose for us to change our name. Because we want people to know who we are and what we do. And we want to be able to help them and they don't know that we are here."

The non-profit organization helps anybody with any disability, any age, whether it's short term or long term.

"Any need for any kind of medical equipment to make their life easier, that is who we serve," Bates added.

Getting back to the fundraiser, Bates said the attendance was, "we used to have a newsletter that went out to several for green infrastructure, and that a presentation be made to the city once the study is completed.

hundred people and so the response was terrific and hundreds of people would show. But we have not had that newsletter since St. John’s Hospital got destroyed, they used to do it for us. This will be our second year without it. The turnout has been a lot less, because fewer people know, but we are trying to build it back up.”

For more information, contact 782-6752.