Matthew’s Lending Library, located on Madison Avenue, has been up and running since 1991 and hit the 25 year mark only a couple of years ago in February.
Established by Kevin and Vicki McCarthy, the storefront serves as a memorial for their son, Matthew James McCarthy, born on September 29, 1981. Matthew lived a short life due to his undeveloped brain, but both Kevin and Vicki say that he lived his life full of courage, grace, fortitude and proved to be an inspiration to the people around him.
Matthew’s Lending Library helps serve children and adults with disabilities. The McCarthy’s learned quickly with their time with their son how expensive equipment for special needs kids is. General equipment ranges from $100 to $400 and goes all the way up to $2,000 in some cases. Certain equipment is essential for the cognitive, social, and physical development of special needs children, teenagers and adults.
The library hosts the buying, borrowing and exchanging of therapy equipment such as wheelchairs, standers, switch toys, strollers, bath chairs and specially designed tricycles.
The organization’s main goal is to make awareness of the special needs population and help families find the equipment they need, and hopefully to establish and adapt integrated playgrounds. Matthew’s Lending Library’s philosophy states “young adults and children have the right to explore the environment and to function as independently as they are able.”
Michelle McBride, an elementary school teacher and mother of two children, including Jack McBride who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, has both borrowed from Matthew’s and donated to Matthew’s. “Our journey has allowed us to witness the incredible beauty in people, including the people who operate and support Matthew’s Lending Library. Having a child with special needs is stressful. Matthew’s came to the rescue. They lent Jack an adaptive bike that he absolutely loved. That bike gave him hours and hours of joy and freedom. He would have never gotten a bike if it wasn’t for Matthew’s Lending Library.”