MUSCATINE, Iowa–Through the various diabetes outreach efforts of the Muscatine Diabetes Project, Kim Seligman and her fellow volunteers often heard stories from area residents struggling to afford the cost of diabetes medications and testing supplies. In 2017, a woman whose husband died from complications of diabetes contacted the Muscatine Diabetes Project to see if they could take the remainder of his unused, unexpired supplies. The organization accepted them, and the Muscatine Diabetes Supply Locker started.
The Muscatine Diabetes Supply Locker provides most basic diabetes related supplies, such as test strips for home glucose meters and insulin. Anyone in need of emergency supplies can apply to get them for free using a form handed out at each month’s Adult Diabetes Support Group. Additionally, people may learn about getting items through the Muscatine Diabetes Supply Locker, as well as other programs and supports available to them, by contacting Trinity Muscatine Public Health’s diabetes care coordinator by calling 563-263-0122.
Each year, the Muscatine Diabetes Supply Locker brings in thousands of items to help those who need them. To date this year, the locker has collected 2,032 items. These supplies help people in many different situations, including those with a gap in insurance coverage or Medicare plan, children who need diabetes care kits at home and at school or on the school bus but cannot afford both, or when a person needs emergency supplies and cannot wait for them to arrive at the pharmacy or in the mail.
The Muscatine Diabetes Supply Locker has also allowed the Muscatine Diabetes Project to support school nurses who needed to have supplies on hand for their students. In 2018, the Muscatine Diabetes Supply Locker received so many testing strips the Muscatine Diabetes Project used them to create emergency school diabetes kits for each individual school in the county that serves students with diabetes. The program continues and has helped school nurses conserve their supply budgets without having to pay for diabetes supplies out of their own pockets.
Because unused insulin does eventually expire, the Muscatine Diabetes Project strives to make sure the donations the locker receives do not go to waste. To that end, they donate any extra insulin to Insulin for Life USA.
Seligman considers the Muscatine Diabetes Supply Locker an innovative and important way to support people with diabetes across the county. “Managing a diabetes diagnosis can be overwhelming. Our mission is to assist navigating real-life issues to help fill the gap that arose,” she said.