After the death of her son, Dominic, in 2015, Jennifer Schouten was left with a surplus of Dominic’s unused medical supplies, from colostomy bags to PICC lines and medical dressings. Among the community of people with special needs, she knew some of these supplies were as valuable as gold.
“Despite having really good insurance, we would have a really hard time getting what he needed,” Schouten says. “For example, the gastric bags need to be changed every 24 hours, while insurance covered one for a month.”
When Schouten created a Facebook post about the surplus, requests for the equipment started pouring in. Before long, these requests began to overload her personal Facebook page. Realizing there was a demand that needed to be filled, Schouten, along with help from family and an arsenal of volunteers, created Dominic’s Closet, a nonprofit charity named for the place where she stored her son’s supplies.
Dominic’s Closet donates free medical supplies to those in need, regardless of income or insurance. Immediately, the demand was almost overwhelming. “In just two and a half weeks, we shipped over 60 boxes of supplies to people all over the world,” Schouten says. She feels it’s a way to keep her son’s spirit alive.
Dominic’s Closet is one of the first medical supply recycling centers in the country. Everything they send out from their facility in Fairhaven is sealed and within expiration date.
“It’s shipped free of charge and it’s given free of charge because we remember how hard it was to get what you need when you’re giving that level of care,” Schouten says.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, Schouten has more orders than ever, but fewer volunteers. For those who’d like to help, Dominic’s Closet accepts donations of unused medical supplies or gently used medical equipment. They also accept monetary donations. Those who wish to donate can send a check to 2950 Newmarket Way, Ste. 101-300, Bellingham, WA 98226, made out to Dominic’s Closet. Medical supplies can be mailed to this address as well.