In 1947, the words “disabled” or “handicapped” were seldom used in reference to people and would have been considered extremely peculiar. The amputee, the stroke victim, or the polio patient were considered “crippled”.

It was in this era, 73 years ago, in a small California farm town, that a group of people organized to help the “crippled”. They saw people suffering from the after-effects of polio and other disabling conditions, many of whom could not afford all of the medical care that might improve their condition. With humble beginnings, they set out to provide medical equipment, physical therapy, doctor consultations, and eventually even vocational rehabilitation. At that time there were no federal health plans and no notable government programs to meet these needs. That is why caring local citizens took action.

That small farm town was Modesto, and that little local organization was the Society for Crippled Children and Adults. In 1965, Medicare was established to provide medical care for persons with disabilities. Society responded by adapting our Loan Closet program to bridge the gaps in the Medicare system.

Society has gone through several name revisions, and aside from a brief affiliation as a local chapter of the Easter Seals Society, we have remained an independent, locally supported organization. Although, more than seventy years have passed the mission and vision of the Society for disABILITIES has not changed. We are still dedicated to improving the quality of life and self-sufficiency of people with disabilities within the Central Valley.

Today, Society operates the largest Medical Loan Closet in Stanislaus County, provides educational and recreational programs, job training services, our long-standing special needs fund, and resource and referral services to the more than 75,000 residents of Stanislaus County living with disabilities.

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