TUSCALOOSA NEWS: Nonprofit group replenishes medical supplies after tornado

In response to the tornadoes that tore through Alabama in late April, we sent two 40-foot containers of medical supplies for relief. On September 18, Tuscaloosa News ran a story on our support, and we wanted to share it with you:

LEND A HAND: Nonprofit group replenishes medical supplies after tornado

By Matt Cole
September 18, 2011

MedShare, a nonprofit organization based in Atlanta that provides surplus medical supplies to places in need, usually assists internationally. But after the April 27 tornado, MedShare answered the call to help Tuscaloosa.

The Alabama Fire College and the Alabama Association of Volunteer Fire Departments contacted the Catholic Health Association, which is a partner with MedShare. The association connected the groups and from there, supplies were sent where they were needed in Alabama.

MedShare partners with hospitals and manufacturers of medical supplies, which donate surplus medical supplies.

“We called the manufacturers,” said Kimberly McCollum, marketing and public relations manager for MedShare, “and asked if they were willing to donate to help Alabama. They agreed, and we got everything set up.”

MedShare sent to the fire departments in need in Alabama two 40-foot containers that were filled with syringes, infusion units, IV kits, oxygen masks, bandages, gauze, sutures and other medical supplies. These items were used to replenish supplies that were exhausted as a result of the tornadoes in April.

Alabama native Lewis Manderson and his wife, Faye, were credited with making a financial donation to MedShare that helped make it all possible.

“We contacted Mr. Manderson,” McCollum said, “and told him what we were doing with the relief effort in Alabama, and he made a very generous donation. His donation covered most of everything that was sent over.”

Allan Rice, executive director of Alabama Fire College, said he was thrilled with the donation.

“The amazing generosity of the Mandersons, MedShare, and Catholic Charities,” Rice said in a news release, “will help in Alabama’s continuing recovery from the April storms. It isn’t often that first responders have to ask for help, but many fire departments will be able to continue serving their communities due to the kindness of these individuals and organizations.”

See also:

Four months later, Alabama firefighters get back on feet with assistance from MedShare

Atlanta nonprofit provides tornado relief in the form of medical supplies to volunteer firefighters 

ATLANTA, Georgia – MedShare, an innovative nonprofit headquartered in Atlanta, partnered with the Alabama Fire College (AFC) to provide tornado relief. The nonprofit sent two 40-foot containers of medical supplies in response to the tornado that tore through the Southeast in late April.

The containers were sent on June 1 and June 30, and included over 2,000 boxes of brand new items such as syringes, infusion units, IV kits, oxygen masks, bandages, gauze, and sutures. The containers were made possible by a generous donation from Alabama-native Lewis Manderson and his wife, Faye, and various MedShare product donors.

The Alabama Association of Volunteer Fire Departments (AAVFD) works to assist the nearly 1,200 volunteer fire departments throughout the state. An enormous amount of their supply inventory was exhausted from the storms and the following relief efforts, and donations were desperately needed. Catholic Charities USA contacted the Catholic Health Association (CHA) regarding the AAVFD’s needs. CHA, a MedShare partner, connected the two organizations.

“The amazing generosity of the Manderson’s, MedShare, and Catholic Charities will help in Alabama’s continuing recovery from the April storms. It isn’t often that first responders have to ask for help, but many fire departments will be able to continue serving their communities due to the kindness of these individuals and organizations,” said Allan Rice, Executive Director of Alabama Fire College.

The AFC worked with the AAVFD and the Alabama Association of Rescue Squads to identify emergency agencies that were destroyed or that used excessive quantities of medical supplies during the tornadoes. The AFC is warehousing the donated supplies and is distributing them to the affected agencies using their vehicles and Regional Staff members.

“MedShare is an organization that typically only ships containers of humanitarian aid to needy hospitals and clinics throughout the developing world,” said A.B. Short, MedShare’s CEO and Co-founder. “Occasionally, however, we do respond to natural disasters and domestic local needs. Our nimbleness, flexibly, infrastructure and great relationships in the medical community make this possible, and we felt it our duty to assist when called upon by our neighbors for help.”

MedShare Ships Container to Alabama for Tornado Relief

Alabama

On June 1, MedShare’s Southeast Regional Distribution Center shipped out a tractor-trailer of medical supplies for disaster relief in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which was hit hard by a massive tornado system in late April.   At last count the tornado has been blamed for over 238 deaths in Alabama, 41 of which occurred in Tuscaloosa County, according to the most recent report from the State of Alabama Emergency Management Agency.  President Obama declared a State of emergency for Alabama on April 29.  Needless to say, relief supplies are still desperately needed to treat the victims.

Alabama container leaving MedShare

The shipment from MedShare currently on its way to Tuscaloosa is carrying over 750 boxes of medical supplies such as bandages, gauze, exam gloves, iodine, medical tape, syringes, IV sets, medicated alcohol pads, and endotracheal tubes, which were generously donated by our medical product manufacturing donors SciVolutions, Inc. and Covidien.  The supplies will be used by the Alabama Association of Volunteer Fire Departments which is currently providing some of the only medical care to the tornado victims in Tuscaloosa.  Ten of the AAVFD’s 16 medical stations were destroyed in the storm.

Special thanks to Kim Burgo at Catholic Health Charities for facilitating this project!

MedShare Needs Your Help in Responding to Alabama Tornadoes

MedShare needs your help to respond to disaster situations, both abroad and at home. One such need is in Alabama, which was devastated by tornadoes that tore through the Southeast in late April. To help MedShare respond to urgent humanitarian needs in Alabama and others like it, click here. Whether you donate $5, $50, $500, $5,000 or more, any amount will be greatly appreciated and help us deliver immediate relief.

Tornado in Alabama

While many states were affected by the recent tornadoes, Alabama received the brunt of the damages. 300 people were killed, 230 of whom were in Alabama. 6,200 single-family homes were destroyed, 5,000 were heavily damaged, and close to 300 apartment complexes were wiped off the map. More than 68,000 people have registered for disaster assistance in Alabama, and MedShare is stepping in to help.

MedShare is an organization that typically only ships containers of humanitarian aid to needy hospitals and clinics throughout the developing world. Occasionally, however, we do respond to natural disasters and domestic local needs. We did in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, and are doing so again in response to Alabama’s disastrous tornado. Our nimbleness, flexibly, infrastructure and great relationships in the medical community make this possible, and we felt it our duty to assist when called upon by our neighbors for help. When responding to domestic situations, MedShare only sends new donated product with the permission of our manufacturer and supplier partners.

With many of the hospitals, clinics, and service organizations damaged or destroyed, there are often questions about how folks are receiving the medical attention and relief they need. In addition to the hospitals and clinics that are still operational, volunteer organizations are also providing assistance to the tornado victims. MedShare is partnering with one such organization, the Alabama Association of Volunteer Fire Departments (AAVFD), and we will be shipping two containers of much-needed medical supplies. We are also working on as many as three additional projects with similar worthwhile recipients which meet our profile standards.

Catholic Charities USA contacted the Catholic Health Association regarding AAVFD’s needs. Because of CHA’s recent work with MedShare around the responsible processing of medical surplus, they connected this group with MedShare. AAVFD is the coordinating body within the state for fire services and emergency medical services. An enormous amount of their supply inventory has been exhausted – and will continue to be – from the storms and through the coming weeks, and they desperately need donations. AAVFD has a system in place to efficiently receive and distribute supplies so that all affected regions in Alabama will be helped. Other worthwhile projects are being identified in Tuscaloosa and throughout Alabama.

Requested items include syringes, colostomy supplies, ileostomy supplies, infusion units, IV kids, oxygen masks, bandages, gauze, slings, iodine, dressings, and sutures. We are partnering with specific manufacturers on these domestic donations, all of which is new product donated specifically for this cause.

We plan to ship the first tractor-trailer load this month, and at least two additional containers in June, but we need your help to make this possible. Click here to donate toward our efforts. Any gift will be greatly appreciated and will enable MedShare to respond to this disaster situation and others, whether they strike here in the U.S. or abroad. MedShare is committed to transparency in our operations and donor relations and we will provide a report of our activities in response to this and other disaster situations.

It is thanks to supporters like you that we are able to make a difference, and we’re grateful for your help in bridging the gap between surplus and need.

(This story is an excerpt from May’s e-newsletter. To read more, including stories of a volunteer who has been with us since 2005 and a MedTeam in Peru, click here.)