Western Region Volunteers honored at Annual Appreciation Event

On Saturday, May 3, MedShare’s Western Region held its 6th Annual Volunteer Appreciation Party at the Sorting and Distribution Center in San Leandro, California.  More than 80 of our volunteers, their family and friends gathered for a celebration to recognize the gift that they are to our organization.  Our warehouse was transformed, glittering with overflowing treasure chests of chocolate gold coins, beads, and gemstones showing just how much We Treasure Our Volunteers!

WestVolunteerCrowdBlog[Above: Western Region Executive Director Andrew Pines
talks with volunteers.]

Presidential Service Awards were presented to honor our most dedicated volunteers.  With over 500 hours of service this past year, Marsha Felton was awarded the Gold Medal for our adult volunteers.

Silver Awards (250+ hours of service) were presented to John Morton, Nassim Nouri, Fran Jurcso, JoAnna Hansen-Morton, and Susan Dyer.Bronze Awards (100+ hours of service) were awarded to Camille Harris, Nancy  Menne, Joe Margevicius, John Dietz, Camille Didas, Lynne Allen, Audrey Ewart, Virginia Godkin, Judy Bulman, Hazel Clendening, Mary Asturias, Dave Mantooth, Paul Litsky, Carolyn Keeney, Nancy Jee, Gloria Jancoski, Lynn Moreau, Karin Fetherston, Susie Plumb, Kathy Lynn Ho, Terry Monday, Eve Stone Trimble, Arleen Sakamoto, Lya Ackermann, Gail Carter, Rosemarie Ramos, Trinh Nguyen, Alana Musante, Marsha Nishikawa, Ken Li, Sue Naset, Dr. Helen Vajk, Jason Lee, Cathryn Jew, Barbara Gasparian, Matthew Schumann, Carol Fullerton, Rissa Coplan, Ted Almida, Mary Lou Groff, Natalie Clendening, Kristine Houglet, Jonah Levy, and Carol Grappo.

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[Western Region Volunteer Programs Manager Gabby Brandt (above far left) with Gold Award adult volunteer Marsha Felton is above left, center. Gold Award youth volunteer Elijah Levy is above, far right.]

Our youth award winners (up to age 14) shined this year.  Elijah Levy was awarded the Gold award with more than 100 hours of service.  James Turrentine received the Silver award (75+ hours), and Steffi Kwok received the Bronze award (50+ hours of service).  We have been blessed many times by the continuing commitment of all these award-winning volunteers!

We were also joined by a special guest, Dr. Bwire Chirangi, who gave a presentation about his hospital in Shirati, Tanzania.  MedShare recently sent a container to this hospital, fully sponsored by our Western Region volunteers.

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Dr. Chirangi (pictured above at the event) showed photos of MedShare’s 40-foot container arriving at Shirati Hospital. He expressed his sincere gratitude to our volunteers for all that they have done to help his hospital by raising the $25,000 sponsorship and packing the boxes of much-needed medical supplies for the container.  We truly have amazing volunteers!

Special thanks go to Horatio’s Restaurant, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Blue Dish, Paramount Piroshki, Bay Cities Produce, Safeway, and Costco for donating most of the food and drink for the event. Special thanks also to Dignity Health, Loard’s Ice Cream, Ghirardelli Chocolate, Whole Foods Lafayette, Whole Foods San Ramon, Trader Joe’s Castro Valley and a Friend of MedShare for donating the beautiful gift baskets and prizes that we gave away on Saturday. We appreciate all their contributions toward honoring these very special people, our volunteers!

 

 

Western region volunteers see MedShare’s impact first-hand on trip to Tanzania

Our volunteers consistently go above and beyond in their service to MedShare. In the summer of 2013, MedShare’s Western Region volunteers came together to raise over $22,000 to ship a container of much-needed medical supplies to a hospital in Tanzania. But that wasn’t enough. Some volunteers decided to travel to the recipient hospital in Tanzania to volunteer their time and talents on the ground.

In mid-February 2014, Camille Harris, Fran Jursco, and Nancy Menne traveled to Shirati KMT Hospital in Tanzania. MedShare’s 40-foot container was still en route at the time, but they hand-carried additional medical supplies from MedShare’s Western Region Distribution Center as well as specially requested items for the hospital staff.tanzaniamap2During their stay in Shirati, these intrepid volunteers provided meals for patients at the hospital, toured the facility, and got to observe Dr. Chirangi in the operating room. “Fran and I were recognizing all the stuff we sort (at MedShare): bovies, tips, vicryl sutures, drapes, etc. [in the operating room]. Camille decided surgery was not her thing so she folded gauze for future surgeries,” said Nancy. “Even though it appears we will miss the arrival of the container, this has been a very fulfilling trip to see just how desperately our work at Medshare is needed.” The volunteers reported that most of the supply cabinets in the hospital are bare and Dr. Chirangi was already using the supplies they brought with them.

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Above: Fran Jursco serving food to the patients at Shirati Hospital. Photo credit: Nancy Menne

 The group has left Shirati and is now travelling through other parts of Africa.  Nancy writes: We have said goodbye to Tanzania and it was sad to leave. Dr. Chirangi had all his department heads waiting to see us off when we came to say goodbye. Each one of them were so grateful for the work all of the volunteers at MedShare do, for the volunteers putting in the effort and money to ship the container, and for the expense we undertook to travel to Shirati. It was an unbelievable experience, and made me truly understand how much is needed in developing countries where they have no clean water, walk several miles to school each day, no nutritious food at the hospitals or schools, and basically just fight to survive.” 

What an eye-opening experience and incredible testament to the importance and impact of our work at MedShare. Thank you, Nancy, for sharing these insights from your trip. And thank you to all of MedShare’s volunteers and supporters who go above and beyond every day to make our work possible. We are grateful for your dedication to our mission to bridge the gap between the surplus of medical supplies in the United States and the need in hospitals like Shirati KMT Hospital in Tanzania

MedShare container has arrived in Shirati!

Editor’s Note: The 40-foot container with medical supplies and equipment sponsored by MedShare’s Western Region volunteers was shipped from the U.S. west coast in November 2013. It arrived at Shirati KMT Hospital on Monday, March 10! See photos of the arrival below.
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Volunteer-Sponsored Container Ships Out for Tanzania

This week on Tuesday November 19, volunteers, staff, and guests gathered at MedShare’s Western Region to send off a container of medical supplies to Shirati KMT Hospital in Tanzania. This was a very special occasion for MedShare’s Western Region volunteers who not only sorted and boxed the supplies going on the container but also raised the $22,000 sponsorship fee for the container. Every container that MedShare ships must have a financial sponsor to cover the costs associated with preparing and shipping the container, so that it can be shipped free of charge to the recipient hospital. These volunteers worked hard over the summer to raise the funds. They organized a silent auction, arranged a 5K walk, and donated their many talents to make this fundraiser a success.

We are very grateful to the thousands of volunteers who give their time to MedShare every year, and we are especially proud of the remarkable effort made by these volunteers.

Thank you! We wish the container a safe and speedy journey to Tanzania!

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MedShare volunteers, staff, and guests send off a container to Tanzania

After kayaking 2,500 miles to raise money, Conor Flannery’s container arrives in Tanzania

Do you remember Mr. Conor Flannery, MedShare supporter and kayaker-extraordinaire who fundraised $20,000 to sponsor a container by kayaking 2,500 miles from Seattle, Washington to Achorage, Alaska last March? If not, you can read about his project here.

Mrs. Christine Chacha from Shirati Hospital, Tanzania, and Conor Flannery

Conor chose Shirati KMT Designated Hospital in Rorya, Mara, Tanzania as the recipient, and we shipped the container of medical humanitarian aid out of our Western Region Distribution Center in San Leandro, California on June 8.

Late last week, we received word that container arrived. According to our liaison, “The container is in Shirati, the people all exulting.” (Have you ever heard more beautiful words? This is why we work so hard to bridge the gap between surplus and need!)

Below are a few photos of the arrival we wanted to share with you:

Unloading the container

Container in Tanzania

In addition to Conor, we’d like to again thank the Friends of Shirati organization and AISCS for their support in making this shipment possible. AISCS is a local group that helps African immigrants and has various projects with the Shirati Hospital including an improved water system.

Thanks to Conor Flannery, MedShare Ships Supplies to Tanzania!

On Wednesday, June 8, a 40-foot container of medical humanitarian aid for Shirati KMT Designated Hospital in Rorya, Mara, Tanzania shipped out of MedShare’s Distribution Center in San Leandro, California.

Over 1,000 individual pieces of equipment and supplies were selected by their hospital director, Dr. Bwire Chirangi, and included on the container, including ambu bags, hospital beds, surgical drapes, sterilization packing an anesthesia machine, patient gowns, an ultrasound, and much more.

Many thanks to the Friends of Shirati organization and AISCS for their support. AISCS is a local group that helps African immigrants and has various projects with the Shirati Hospital including an improved water system.

Members of AISCS, MedShare Staff and Volunteers

Pediatric Ward

Inside the OR

This project was made possible thanks to Mr. Conor Flannery, who fundraised $20,000 for MedShare by kayaking 2,500 miles from Seattle, Washington to Achorage, Alaska last March! To learn more, click here.

Mrs. Christine Chacha from Shirati Hospital, Tanzania, and Conor Flannery

To read Conor’s account of the shipment, click here.

The Tale of Two Wards in Tanzania

MedShare’s Volunteer Programs Manager, Lindsey Barber is visiting hospitals throughout East Africa this month.  Here is her powerful experience at  a hospital in Tanzania:

Yesterday I had the privilege of spending the day within the bustling halls of Muhimbili National Hospital, Tanzania’’s leading treatment center for urgent care. The CEO and staff beamed with pride as they walked me through a state of the art emergency department, the first ER in Tanzania’s history to meet international standards. This newly constructed department was made possible through a partnership between The Abbott Fund and the government of Tanzania aimed at improving healthcare throughout the country. Not only were patients being treated with shiny, new equipment, the staff attending to them were rigorous and attentive, lead by University of Chicago and Cornell graduate, Dr. Alwyn Mziray, a Tanzanian native returned home. There was no room to question why the hospital had received such a high ranking.

This baby slept 3 to a bed in this infant ward in Tanzania

As the afternoon progressed, the hospital’’s leadership wanted me to catch the full scope of the facility so that I could understand the extent of their need for supplies. As we moved on through nine additional wards, a whole new view began to unfold. It was still a bustling facility, staffed with a stellar team, but other departments were far from shiny and new. We ended the day in the OB/GYN and Neonatal ICU. Here new mothers slept two to a bed and filled every inch of space on the floor, and struggling premature infants slept three to a mat in a room heated to 90+ degrees because there were no functioning incubators.

As the day came to a close, I was struck by the startling contrast between these two wards. One of the most glaring problems in our world today is the ever-growing disparity between the haves and the have-nots. As disheartening as that reality is, it is one that you almost come to expect, even if you wish it wasn’t so. But who would have thought that such a vivid picture of unnecessary disparity existed, not just across borders, across tribes, or even across neighborhoods, but across wards with nothing more than a few offices between them?

At the very moment my heart becomes heavy at this thought, it simultaneously becomes full of hope in light of who I’’m representing in this place. The bottom line is that everyone has their niche. Where one organization’’s strength may lie in elevating a nation’s level of emergency care, MedShare’’s forte is in equipping hospitals with the supplies they need to sustain a high level of care across the board. Much of the theme behind what MedShare strives to do is to bridge the gap between surplus and need. In that moment, I realized in a very real way that that is only the tip of the iceberg in gaps that we are helping to bridge. Whether as staff, financial contributors, volunteers or simply as fans, this is an incredible reality to be a part of.