WESTLAKE VILLAGE, California — February 8, 2008 — Dole announced today that Dolefil, a division of Dole Food Company in the Philippines, has partnered with the Wheelchair Foundation in committing to providing 280 wheelchairs to local community members.
The beneficiaries of this program are from rural villages in the Philippine provinces of South Cotabato and Sarangani. Dolefil worked with municipal health officers and community social workers to identify those in need, and recently held a ceremony for beneficiaries and their families to distribute the wheelchairs. The Wheelchair Donation Program is one of Dole’s numerous community responsive programs in the Philippines, where the company has existed for almost 45 years.
“The physically disabled beneficiaries of Dolefil’s Wheelchair Donation Program now have a greater opportunity to live and work in their communities,” said David DeLorenzo, president and chief executive officer of Dole Food Company.
Kevin Davis, Dolefil managing director, said: “This latest wheelchair program is just one of many Doelfil is carrying out to help members of the community achieve a better way of life; by the end of this program, we hope to bring mobility, freedom and happiness, to 280 beneficiaries and their families.”
About the Wheelchair Foundation:
The Wheelchair Foundation is a nonprofit organization leading an international effort to create awareness of the needs and abilities of people with physical disabilities, to promote the joy of giving, create global friendship, and to deliver a wheelchair to every child, teen and adult in the world who needs one, but cannot afford one. For these people, the Wheelchair Foundation delivers Hope, Mobility and Independence.
Over 100 million people with physical disabilities worldwide need wheelchairs, though less than 1 percent own or have access to one. In many developing countries, the only way for a person with physical disabilities to be mobile is to crawl along the ground or be carried by family or friends. An all too common reality is that many people stay in bed or the corner of a room for years at a time.