WISH LIST: Edith Bishel Center needs reliable, efficient vehicle

By Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldDecember 3, 2013 

Edith Bishel Center wish list

Cynthia McCready, left, executive director of the Edith Bishel Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and Sheila Turner, independent living rehabilitation teacher wish list includes a newer van to replace the high-mileage van which is prone to break downs. The van is driven many miles in the region that includes the counties of Yakima, Franklin, Benton Columbia, Klickitat and Walla Walla.

PAUL T. ERICKSON — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

Editor’s Note: This month the Herald is featuring a series of stories on the Holiday Wish Lists of Mid-Columbia nonprofits and how you can help. Charities can still email news@tricityherald.com with attention to Holiday Wish List, include name, contact information and a few specific needs.

The van that Sheila Turner uses to get to her far-flung clients once broke down twice on the same day.

On another day, the brakes combusted, causing flames to shoot out of a tire -- resulting in a big repair bill.

Turner is an independent living rehabilitation teacher for the Edith Bishel Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and the van carries her to appointments in Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla, Columbia, Yakima and Klickitat counties.

She's traveled more than 23,000 miles this year.

A reliable replacement vehicle -- that's new or used but in good shape -- is at the top of the Edith Bishel Center's holiday wish list.

Officials are hoping for one that's fuel-efficient and has enough room to hold equipment and supplies. "We need something that will get us where we need to go and back in whatever type of weather," Turner said.

She is visually impaired herself, and travels in the van with a driver. She made more than 300 home visits last year.

Turner's work is one part of the services provided by the Edith Bishel Center, based in Kennewick. The nonprofit offers training, education, support and connection to other resources. It also has on hand myriad products for the blind and visually impaired, from canes to talking alarm clocks.

"This is a place where people can get all the help and resources that they need, all the information. And if we can't help them, then we know who can," Turner said.

Cynthia McCready, executive director, described it as a unique organization that "serves a population of high need."

"We have a very small budget to support the large amount of resources that we offer," McCready said.

The Edith Bishel Center has two full-time and three part-time employees and relies on a loyal corps of volunteers.

A replacement vehicle is at the top of the wish list, but the group could also use some other help. The landscaping at the center on North Arthur Street has experienced wind damage, leaving the drip irrigation system exposed to the elements.

New carpet and some replacement kitchen appliances also are needed inside the facility.

For more information or to contact the Edith Bishel Center, go to www.edithbishelcenter.org, call 735-0699 or e-mail info@edithbishelcenter.org.

w Sara Schilling: 582-1529; sschilling@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @saraTCHerald

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