Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Drops By MedShare’s Western Region

On Monday, August 20, employees of the nearby Dr. Pepper Snapple Group stopped by MedShare’s Western Region to present a grant of $1,000 dollars that was requested through their company’s employee volunteer program, ACTIONeer Program, in support of MedShare Western Region. Throughout the past year, Dr. Pepper Snapple has been regularly sending their employees to volunteer at MedShare to sort medical supplies.

Thank you Dr. Pepper Snapple Group for your generosity and your time!

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MedShare’s Chuck Haupt (2nd from left) and Terry Monday (2nd from Right) join employees from Dr. Pepper Snapple Group for their generous check presentation!

MedShare Celebrates its Volunteers!

On Wednesday, April 25th, MedShare’s Western Region hosted our volunteers for a celebration to recognize the gift that they are to our organization. Our 4th Annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon was attended by more than 60 people. Special thanks to Terry Monday and Gabby Brandt, who manage our award-winning volunteer program, for creating such a wonderful island-themed party filled with games and recognition of our dedicated volunteers!

Special recognition goes to the following Presidential Award Winners for their dedicated service. (To earn the Gold you must volunteer over 500 hours/yr, for the Silver 250 hours/yr, and for the Bronze 100 hours per year).

John Morton Gold
Marsha Felton Gold
Susan Dyer Silver
JoAnna Hansen-Morton Silver
Joe Margevicius Silver
Camille Didas Silver
Nassim Nouri Silver
Virginia Godkin Bronze
Myron Zhang Bronze
Lynn Moreau Bronze
Arleen Sakamoto Bronze
Paul Litsky Bronze
Susie Plumb Bronze
Naty Duenas Bronze
Carol Fullerton Bronze
Sue Naset Bronze
Ted Almida Bronze
Alana Musante Bronze
Karen Nelson Bronze
Eve Stone-Trimble Bronze
Rissa Coplan Bronze
Cathryn Jew Bronze
Karen Rice Bronze
Mary Lou Groff Bronze

CHI supports Philippine Hospital with Aid Shipment

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Catholic Health Initiatives partnered with MedShare to deliver an aid shipment to the Indigenous Peoples’ Hospital in Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines. View video here

From Sister Norman Manzano, Hospital Administrator; “Providing access to specialized treatment and care to the approximately 60,000 indigenous people living in the Diocese of Bayombong is the most significant need. These tribal peoples are some of the most marginalized and impoverished in the Philippines. They have been forced to subsist in remote, mountain villages as more and more of their land is taken for commercial endeavors, such as mining, logging, and construction of dams. They live a simple, agrarian lifestyle. The absence of a road network makes accessing services particularly challenging. Cases of emergencies often results to irreversible health deficit or death. They do not have health insurance coverage and are often turned away because of inability to pay for services. The provision of the basic preventive health services, such as immunizations and antenatal care, remains a challenge. Detection and proper management of communicable diseases, like TB, are exceedingly difficult.”

MedShare is proud to collaborate with CHI to deliver over 1,100 boxes of medical supplies to enable the Outpatient Clinic to begin treating patients from the impoverished, indigenous population of Nueva Vizcaya.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Nanetta Pon

Nanetta (front, center) at a 2011 container shipment ceremony

“Nanetta Pon has volunteered with us 60 times (that’s 180 hours!) since she first started in April 2009 when she was only 14 or 15 years old. She has the most hours of any of our volunteers under age 18. She volunteers out of her own motivation; not because she has to fulfill some community service requirement.

We enjoy working with Nanetta. She is willing to do anything we ask and she works hard during the time she’s here. It is impressive that she keeps coming back when I know she has a very busy schedule with high school and other outside activities.” – Terry Monday, Volunteer Programs Manager

Name: Nanetta Pon

Age and Occupation: Seventeen-year-old high school student

Hometown: Fremont, California

Please describe yourself in one sentence.I like to get involved in great causes.

When did you first hear about MedShare? I found it while searching on VolunteerMatch for opportunities open to teenagers.

How would you describe your volunteer experience at MedShare? Wonderful! The volunteer coordinators and other volunteers are always welcoming, sorting is fun, and I learn something new about medical procedures every time.

How long have you been volunteering at MedShare? Since 2009

What inspired you to get involved? I’d been involved in my school’s recycling program, so it was MedShare’s environmental side that first interested me. I liked the idea of keeping supplies out of landfills. It was only after I’d started volunteering that I realized how much it was helping save people’s lives.

What is it that motivates you to keep volunteering at MedShare? MedShare is great about letting each volunteer know that he/she is making a difference, from the flags to the pictures to the stories people come in to tell. They keep me inspired to keep coming to the warehouse.

Have you been involved with MedShare in other ways besides sorting supplies? If so, please explain. This is more about MedShare helping me out: Last year I received a giant box of old, unsortable gloves to bring to my school. We’re still using them during our weekly sort of the school’s bottles and cans.

What has been your favorite MedShare moment or story during your time serving with us? After the iPad came out, one of the sorters accidentally got our table excited over a box of eye pads.

This story is an excerpt from our January e-news. To read more – including a story of fate’s role in a Haiti container delivery and a college MedTeam in Honduras – click here.

A look back: MedShare’s Visit to Guatemala

Earlier this year, MedShare’s Josh Kravitz (Chief Operating Officer), Amanda Paniagua (Shipments Manager), and Terry Monday (Volunteer Manager for MedShare’s Western Region) visited Guatemala.

MedShare's Josh Kravitz, Amanda Paniagua and Terry Monday with hospital staff in Antigua, Guatemala

Why did they visit? “Our mission on this trip was to dive into the Guatemalan medical community to learn just who will be our best partner hospitals over the next year or two and truly understand their unique needs,” said Josh Kravitz, COO. “Without a doubt, we prepared to leave this wonderful country with a better understanding that will lead to even higher quality medical aid shipments.”

To learn more, we invite you to read Josh and Amanda’s accounts of their trip. Which of our recipient countries would you like to travel to?

Report: MedShare International on Hospitalito Atitlan’s Blog

MedShare staff Josh Kravitz, Amanda Paniagua and Terry Monday traveled to Guatemala last week to visit various recipient hospitals, one of which was Hospitalito Atitlan. The hospital posted the following photo and text on their blog, and we wanted to share it with you. Enjoy!

(L to R) Bonnie O'Neill, Terry Monday, Amanda Paniagua and Josh Kravitz

When Bonnie O’Neill, Chair of Amigos Hospitalito Atitlán lived in Atlanta, she was instrumental in founding MedShare. MedShare collects and sorts medical equipment and supplies and then finds donors to help with the costs of shipping full containers to hospitals in developing countries. A year ago Hospitalito Atitlán received it’s first Medshare container. This week, Bonnie brought MedShare administrators to visit the Hospitalito. Terry Monday from Medshare’s Western Region in San Leandro, CA and Amanda Paniagua and Josh Kravitz  from their headquarters in Atlanta, GA.

It was great to finally meet the MedShare people we have been working with. Thank you for the visit and all the excellent quality medical equipment and supplies!

To view photos from their trip, visit our Flickr page here.

MedShare Visits Guatemala: Our Hospital Partners Excel, Fight, and Innovate

As our plane approached the airport in Guatemala City, Amanda Paniagua, MedShare’s Shipments Manager, leans over and opens the window shade. As she looked out, she said, “look, we are in another country!” Indeed, we were. Once again a MedShare team was on its way to learn about our medical aid recipients and explore with them how we can best partner to improve healthcare for those in most need.

Team at Hospital Atitlan

Along with Amanda are myself, Josh Kravitz, COO, and Terry Monday, Volunteer Manager for MedShare’s Western Region. Our mission on this trip was to dive into the Guatemalan medical community to learn just who will be our best partner hospitals over the next year or two and truly understand their unique needs. Without a doubt, we prepared to leave this wonderful country with a better understanding that will lead to even higher quality medical aid shipments.

Since 2000, MedShare has shipped twenty-seven containers of medical aid and supplied countless MedTeams helping the Guatemalan people. We had a lot of options to start from, but chose to visit with two of our most trusted corporate partners, Dole and Kimberly-Clark. In the last few years, Dole has provided shipping for seven 40-foot containers on their vessels. While none have been to Guatemala, we were eager to learn how they are working to improve healthcare for the people here. As expected, they are working to improve lives in this important banana-growing region and are starting some new projects that MedShare hopes to help with.

It was in 2001 that MedShare sent our first container with Kimberly-Clark to Guatemala and we were excited to see the results of our numerous containers since.  We started with a visit to the Hospital Materno Infantil, where we were overjoyed to see a facility that provided not only high level care, but paying great respect to the families they served. Though the hospital may have been low on resources, they stretched themselves as far as they could while continuing to honor their patients with services that would satisfy any North American. Most impressive was their ability to build a sterilization capability with similar capacity of a US hospital. Following several visits to small clinics, we ended the first day by seeking some advice from the nuns at the Central American headquarters for the Daughters of Charity, as introduced to us by Accession Healthcare. In MedShare’s efforts to only work with the most honest and professional partners, we must seek advice from those who truly know local needs.

The following day, we met with Food for the Poor and their long time partner, the Knights of Malta. It goes without saying how impressed we were that together these two organizations partner to accept and distribute an average of two containers of medical and food aid every day. MedShare was proud to most recently have shipped a container of hospital beds from our Western Region in aid of their mission. Our first hospital stop was to visit their recipients at the National Hospital in Antigua, and we were shocked to see moldy ceilings, rusty beds and crumbling walls. The desperate situation became overwhelmingly real when we saw premature babies being warmed by nothing more than a floor lamp with an incandescent light bulb; a similar set-up to what caused an infant’s finger to be burned off at one of our recipient hospitals years earlier. Despite challenging circumstances, this hospital has amazingly set up Guatemala’s first breast milk bank so babies in crisis can still benefit from this simple, but fortifying nutrition. We finished this day by visiting the world famous Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro that conducts the highest quality services for the poor from orthopedic surgeries to caring for the mentally disabled.

Premature baby being warmed by a floor lamp

Pediatrician preparing donated milk

It was difficult to imagine we could see anything more heartbreaking or inspiring, but the trip went on. Wednesday began with a visit to the national hospital in Solola. This government hospital that serves primarily an indigenous and extremely poor population struggles to survive on an adequate budget that leaves them no choice but to operate with only one nurse for every 15 patients. We were shown intermediate care units with almost no working monitors, an operating room filled with broken equipment and a patient ward that reeked of urine and was filled with ancient mattresses on rusted beds.  Again, the facility persevered and managed to establish a blood bank where patients’ families could donate blood. This day ended on an extraordinary note with a visit to Dr. Louis Flores who is using his 401K money to build a clinic for one of the poorest villages on Lake Atitlan. This fascinating doctor, who recently retired to his native Guatemala after decades with the Mayo Clinic, will spend his “leisure” years giving nearly free care to one of the most medically under-resourced communities in the country. Then, just stay busy, Dr. Flores also hopes to teach painting to villagers on the weekend.

The National Hospital in Solola's blood bank

The trip concluded with an energizing stop at the Hospilito Atitlan in Santiago de Guatemala with the extraordinary mission of providing for the preventative, maternal and emergency health needs of the Lake Atitlan’s indigenous population. Through the interesting use of battery back-ups, generators, water purification, highly-trained staff, quality equipment and state of the art facilities, this hospital, with MedShare’s partnership, offers care at low or no cost to a population that can easily be called the “poorest of the poor” in a way that surpasses what even the United States’ best free clinics and public hospitals provide. Recently, MedShare shipped a container of medical aid to Hospitalito Atitlan in May 2010 that was sponsored by Mr. Bill Cuneo from Northern CA.

Once again, this visit proved that under almost unbearable circumstances, people can find creative solutions to seemingly insurmountable odds.  When most give up, our Guatemalan partners innovate. When many accept social injustice, our partners fight. When few succeed, our partners excel.

Amanda, Terry and I wish to thank the many who made this expedition possible, including Dole, Kimberly-Clark, Accession Health, Food for the Poor, Knights of Malta and former MedShare board chair Bonnie O’Neill. We are also grateful for the always important advice from MedShare staff and board members who helped craft a wonderful itinerary, including Stephanie Greene, Nell Diallo, Chuck Haupt and Pat Robinson.

To view more photos, click here.