Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta (FAMA) 10th Anniversary of 9/11 Inter Faith Gathering

By Clint Fluker, MedShare’s Faiths Act Fellow

Sana and I stood side by side at the crosswalk watching silently as dozens of people from all directions trickled into the Decatur Hotel Conference Center in Decatur, Georgia. When the traffic light turned red we joined the crowd into the lobby of the hotel where over 600 people representing six different faiths (Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Sikhs) gathered to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Clint Fluker, MedShare's Faiths Act Fellow, at a 9/11 Interfaith Gathering in Decatur

As we moved through the lobby toward the main hall two lively women hopped in front us bearing quiz sheets. Wide eyed and smiling, they welcomed us to the interfaith gathering, introduced themselves, their religions, and through hysterical laughter held up their sheets to ask, “Are you Muslim? Because we really need some help with some of these questions?”

I stood mute shaking my head. The onlooker’s eyes glazed over me and focused on Sana. Sana nodded. The two women jumped for joy and presented their sheets which were filled with bingo-style questions stemming from all the religions represented at the conference. Sana answered their questions about the prophet Muhammad; the women thanked her graciously and moved on to the next set of unsuspecting arrivals.

The interfaith questionnaire was one of several mechanisms used throughout the evening to help foster interfaith dialogue. Consequently, when we entered the main hall we saw hundreds of colorful faces glaring at us ready to pounce with interfaith questions. We answered questions about Islam and Christianity respectively as we made our way to two open seats.

The ceremony began with a welcome and introduction by a representative from the Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta (FAMA) who brought our attention to the beauty of the diversity in the crowd. Next, he pointed to a painting by Norman Rockwell, “The Golden Rule,” that was projected prominently on each wall. The speaker then yielded the floor to religious leaders from all faiths present to recite their interpretations of The Golden Rule according to their religious texts.

This presentation was followed by several musical performances, prompted interfaith discussions, and poetry readings. However, perhaps the most powerful moment of the evening was a reading by author Carmen Agra Deedy. Deedy retold a story from a man on the ground in New York City who witnessed the World Trade Center buildings fall. During this story she urged everyone in the audience to face the memory of 9/11 head on, take the lessons we have learned from that day, and apply them to the future in the spirit of peace.

The evening came to a close with a candle light vigil. The silence in the room during those few moments was only broken by quiet tears and prayerful whispers. When the bell rung to mark the end of the gathering, I surveyed the dimly lit room to see newly made friends and strangers alike embracing each other. Baring witness to the bonds of unity formed through the sharing of faith traditions, I opened my arms and joined in.

To learn more about MedShare’s Faiths Act Fellow, click here and here.

MedShare Southeast’s Rookie of the Year Volunteer Award: Rona Gilchrist

On Friday, September 2, 2011, Meridith Rentz, MedShare’s CEO, awarded Rona Gilchrist with our Rookie of the Year Volunteer Award.

MedShare CEO Meridith Rentz award Rona Gilchrist our Rookie of the Year Volunteer Award

Rona may be a familiar face to those of you who volunteer in our Decatur sort room. She’s contributed an impressive 320+ hours since this January, and has been a tremendous help in the MedTeam store, volunteer programs, and other countless other ways at MedShare. There aren’t enough words to express how grateful we are to our volunteers; without their incredible dedication to our mission, we wouldn’t be able to achieve our mission of bridging the gap between surplus and need. To all of you – thank you!

Congratulations, Rona, and thanks for your wonderful support! Please join us in congratulating her in the comments section below…

If you’re interested in signing up for a volunteer session in either our Decatur or Bay Area facility, please click here.

Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., Visits MedShare

MedShare was pleased to host the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., at its Headquarters and Southeast Distribution Center in Decatur. MedShare and The Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Rev. Jackson’s organization, discussed opportunities to provide medical supplies and equipment to support the healthcare issues that thousands of East Africans are facing as a result of the famine.  From the earthquake in Haiti to the tsunami in the South Pacific and tornadoes in Alabama, MedShare has a history of successfully sending medical relief in response to urgent humanitarian needs. To help, sign up to volunteer or donate at www.medshare.org.

Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., with members of MedShare and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, speaking

Rev. Jackson with MedShare's A.B. Short and Nell Diallo

Rev. Jackson shaking hands with MedShare's Biomedical Engineer and Ethiopian, Tesfah Gebremichael

MedShare & Rev. Jackson discussing a partnership

Click here for more information and here to view more photos.

A Volunteer’s Perspective: Emory’s OIM Team Volunteers at MedShare

Emory is one of MedShare’s longest partners, and we’re grateful for the wonderful relationship we’ve had with them over the years. From donating medical supplies and equipment to providing volunteers each month, Emory University and Emory Healthcare helps us achieve our mission of bridging the gap between surplus and need.

Recently, a group of workers from Emory Healthcare’s Occupational Injury Management (OIM) team volunteered at MedShare, and wrote this great article detailing their experience that we wanted to share with you. Enjoy!

Volunteering at MedShare

By Connie Wilbanks and the Occupational Injury Management staff

Emory's OIM team sorting medical supplies

While in a department retreat recently, the Occupational Injury Management (OIM) team reviewed EHC’s Employer Commitment. We wanted to see how well we were meeting the eight commitments embraced by Emory Healthcare.

The last commitment, Our Community, encourages us to participate in EHC-sponsored programs, such as the Employee Hardship Donation Program, which assists fellow employees suffering financial hardships.

From disaster-torn Haiti and tornado-ravaged Alabama to our individual volunteer contributions within our own communities, it seemed like we all put in volunteer time. Now, we were ready for a group volunteer project to fulfill this important commitment. Plus, a group project was sure to help our department be a stronger team.

We spent a morning at MedShare in Decatur, and, in short, we had a blast! We had our own sawhorse and plywood table and became “sorting soldiers.” There were instruments and medical supplies of all shapes, sizes and colors. As health care workers, we thought we had a definite advantage in identifying the right names for these supplies. There were a few hiccups, though — some items were labeled in other languages and there were specialized items unfamiliar to our staff. This didn’t deter us and actually spurred us on as we imagined the use of the unfamiliar items!

We enjoyed our experience at MedShare and our time spent together as a vibrant team. Somehow, I think the experience was more beneficial for us individually, and as a team, than for those who will be recipients of our efforts.

We encourage other teams to share a fun and rewarding experience by volunteering at MedShare.

To volunteer, call 770-323-5858, or check them out online at http://www.medshare.org to find out more about their services and volunteer opportunities.

Atlanta Gabonese Association Volunteer Video

We recently hosted the Atlanta Gabonese Association as volunteers in our Decatur, GA warehouse. The energetic group had a great time, and we so appreciate the time they gave to sort medical supplies!

Below is a video the group posted on their YouTube page- take a few moments to watch, and enjoy!

To sign up for a volunteer session in either our San Leandro or Decatur warehouse, click here.

Volunteers Make the MedShare World Go Around!

Though we’ve said it time and time before, we can’t say it enough: volunteers make the MedShare world go around. Sorting medical supplies is a huge task, and the work that volunteers do is what enables us to accomplish our mission of bridging the gap between surplus and need.

This morning, we wanted to share a few photos we snapped of volunteers hard at work:

Volunteers in our Decatur sort room hard at work

Emory Healthcare's Occupational Injury Management team doing a second-sort

Happy birthday to our longtime volunteer Jane Gole!

What exactly do volunteers do?

We utilize 15,000 volunteers each year (12,000 in GA and 3,000 in CA). Their primary role is to sort the medical supplies donated by hospitals and manufacturers. (Each week, we receive about 20,000 lbs of donated medical supplies!) Volunteers sort and group similar supplies together into boxes. The boxes are then entered by a staff member into an inventory system, sent to the warehouse, and after being requested by a medical facility, are then shipped out and used to save lives!

To sign up for a volunteer session in either our San Leandro or Decatur warehouse, click here.

MedShare Ships Two Containers to Hospital General Douala in Cameroon

Cameroon

On Thursday, April 21, two 40-foot containers of medical humanitarian aid for Cameroon were loaded and shipped from MedShare’s Southeastern Regional Distribution Center in Decatur, Georgia.  Both containers will be delivered to Hopital General Douala, one of the central Ministry of Public Health institutions in the city of Douala, where doctors and nurses struggle daily with a lack of resources to care for their patients, most of whom come from poor backgrounds.

Hopital General Douala

MedShare’s Senior Biomedical Engineer, Eben Amstrong, is originally from Cameroon, and has worked and volunteered to repair medical equipment at the Hopital General Douala numerous times.  On Eben’s most recent return home to Cameroon this winter he spent more time at the hospital and, upon seeing the dire need for supplies and equipment, returned to the United States to organize the shipment of these two containers.  “Douala is the economic capital and the largest city in Cameroon,” says Eben. “This hospital is the one of the biggest referral hospitals and most patients there have been referred from different regions.  Unfortunately it doesn’t have enough equipment for the 21 million people in Cameroon.”

Among the items included on the containers are:

  • hospital beds
  • emesis basins
  • suction catheters
  • gauze pads
  • surgical masks
  • drape packs
  • patient monitors
  • an ultrasound machine
  • an electrosurgical unit
  • nebulizers
  • a dental x-ray machine
  • and much more.!

Thank you to the Coca-Cola Bottlers of Northwest Africa for generously sponsoring this project!