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.
TanzaniaPicsBlog

MedShares Celebrates Our 900th Aid Shipment

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In the most underdeveloped countries in the world, children  and adults suffer and  die every day because their doctors, hospitals and clinics, do not have the necessary supplies and equipment to treat them. At the same time, U.S. hospitals and manufacturers discard an billions of dollars worth of medical supplies each year, much of which is useable surplus that could save lives, but is sent to landfills.

MedShare was founded in 1998 on the premise that both the humanitarian and environmental issues can, and should be addressed.

Our first shipment was made in May, 1999 and was sent to a recipient in Costa Rica. From these humble beginnings we have grown to be one of the largest shippers of medical aid in the country.

In 2001 we were up to 15 shipments and then in 2002 it doubled to 30. Skip forward a few years to 2009, when MedShare’s 500th forty-foot container of medical supplies and equipment is shipped. The shipment was sponsored by the newly-formed Southeastern Regional Council and was sent to benefit Santa Rosa Maternity Hospital in Ecuador.

Also in 2009, a mobile CT Scanner was donated to us by Catalina Imaging in Sacramento, CA. This 45-foot mobile imaging system is the largest single medical equipment donation MedShare has received. It was safely delivered to the capital of Zimbabwe where it is the only functioning CT system in public health in the country.

In October 2009, MedShare responded to its first international disaster when a tsunami struck American Samoa. MedShare was quick to respond to the medical needs after an earthquake and devastating tsunami struck American Samoa. In disaster relief situations such as this, basic medical supplies run out quickly. Within hours after MedShare received their custom order, volunteers and staff had picked the hundreds of boxes from the warehouse, wrapped them on shipping pallets, and then transported the truckloads to the Port of Oakland.

But nothing could have prepared us for the biggest disaster in the Western hemisphere in modern times. On the afternoon of January 12, 2010, I received a text from our CEO in Atlanta and we began our response planning.

Within hours we mobilized volunteers to help us prepare aid shipments, including, notably. In the first couple of weeks we shipped 11 containers of aid and provisioned 22 medical teams. Since the earthquake we have shipped 44 containers to help strengthen their fragile health system. In January of this year, I was privileged to visit Haiti once again. While the challenges will be significant for the country for many years to come, I can say with a high level of assurance that MedShare’s partnerships are having a demonstrable impact on the lives of many Haitian’s.

The 900th container of  humanitarian aid that we shipped on April 9, 2013, Imageis destined for John F Kennedy Medical Center  located in Liberia’s capital City of Monrovia.  The medical center serves a population that is struggling with significant health challenges, including hypertension, malnourishment, and HIV/AIDS. The US spends an average of $7,700 per capita on healthcare, while Liberia just spends 6/10 of 1 percent of that – a measly $49.

This shipment contains 1,000 boxes of critically needed medical supplies such as IV kits, gloves, needles and suture to help treat thousands of patients per year. Hospital beds, examination tables, an anesthesia machine, pulse oximeters, and even a centrifuge and a microscope for their lab.

Traveling at 17 knots, it will leave the Port of  Oakland and be 50 days in transit and is set to arrive on June 2.

We’re excited about MedShare’s future, as together with the partners represented over these past 14+ years, we are confident of our ability to do even more good.

We acknowledge that there is significant opportunity to further enhance MedShare’s impact through more partnerships and collaborations at the local, national and international levels, and we invite each of you to help us deliver health and hope to more people around the world.

Chuck Haupt
Executive Director
Western Region