Mid-December Western Region Volunteers

At MedShare, we’re lucky to host over 18,000 volunteers a year. These generous people and groups help us sort and box the 20,000 lbs of medical supplies that we collect weekly from our hospital and manufacturer partners. The sheer volume of work they provide for MedShare is incredible, and we don’t hesitate to say that our work wouldn’t be possible without them.

 Today, we’d like to recognize a few groups who’ve recently volunteered in our Western Region.

On December 17, these Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership volunteers sorted drapes and packed 77 boxes.

On December 16, Kaiser-Performance Excellence volunteers sorted 741 lbs and packed 50 boxes.

On December 15, Kaiser Permanente volunteers sorted 439 lbs and packed 47 boxes.

We’d like to recognize our volunteers for another accomplishment. On Tuesday, December 20, the Western Region had one of its biggest sorting days ever!  Regular volunteers and groups from OSISoft, Nektar, and the Bay Oaks Blasters packed an impressive 664 boxes and sorted 5,500 lbs.

These volunteers are part of the group that packed 664 boxes and sorted 5,500 lbs on December 20.

These volunteers are part of the group that packed 664 boxes and sorted 5,500 lbs on December 20.

These volunteers are part of the group that packed 664 boxes and sorted 5,500 lbs on December 20.

If you’d like to sign up to volunteer, click here. Thanks again to everyone pictured here, and the many others who aren’t.

Stryker Volunteers at MedShare

On Friday, November 11, 2011, Stryker employees took time of of their busy days to volunteer at MedShare’s Western Region. Their task for the day was to sort and box medical supplies.

MedShare relies on volunteers to sort and box the 20,000 lbs of medical supplies we collect from hospitals and manufacturers on a weekly basis. Without the 18,000 individuals who volunteer yearly, our medical supplies wouldn’t have made it to 88 countries on over 700 containers in 13 years.

Thanks for your gift of time and energy, Stryker! Volunteers like you are truly the fuel for our mission.

If you’d like to sign up for a volunteer session, click here.

Our Duty on 9/11

By: Sana Rahim, MedShare’s Faiths Act Fellow

Sana Rahim (L) and Clint Fluker, MedShare's Faiths Act Fellows, leading a volunteer sort session

When I asked Emory students to tell me the first word that comes to mind when they think of 9/11, Rami Tabba responded with “duty.”

Amidst the tragedy and destruction that September 11, 2011 wreaked in the United States, it also called upon ordinary citizens to become life-saving heroes. Rami reflected on how thousands of Americans went above and beyond the call of duty to serve their fellow citizens.

It was a similar sense of duty that drew 45 students from Emory University to sort medical supplies at MedShare on the 10th anniversary of September 11th. After a tour and orientation at the MedShare facility, students sorted 1,032 pounds and packaged 74 boxes of medical supplies and equipment. These boxes could be sent to hospitals in Kenya, Paraguay, or Bangladesh- some of the countries in the upcoming shipment schedule.

After the sorting session, students were asked to reflect on ideas of unity and overcoming difference. They candidly discussed how communities came together and, how certain communities faced alienation and discrimination after 9/11.

When the students were asked why they had chosen to serve on 9/11, the response was almost universal. It was simply the right thing to do according to the students. Many reflected that serving on 9/11 together endowed them with a powerful sense of community. As a local group in Atlanta, they had come together to make a global impact.

The Emory students that came together at MedShare that day represented multiple narratives; different faith backgrounds, cultural histories, and personal ambitions. On a day that often brings back memories of violence, hate, and division, they came together in solidarity to help create a more just and equitable world.


As a Faiths Act Fellows at MedShare, I hope to continue to work with new communities at MedShare for days of service and reflection. If you are interested in organizing an interfaith sorting session, or any other activity, please reach out to me at srahim@medshare.org or my partner Clint Fluker at cfluker@medshare.org

You can read more about the Faiths Act Fellowship at www.faithsactfellows.org.

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.

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.

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.

Volunteer Spotlight: Virginia Godkin

Virginia Godkin (seated, far left) at MedShare Western Region’s Volunteer Appreciation Event. She received the Presidential Volunteer Service Awards for devoting over 100 hours this year.

“Virginia Godkin is our oldest volunteer, and she volunteers two or three times a week. She has volunteered 236 hours in just the last 12 months and over 400 hours since we opened (not quite three years ago). That’s pretty amazing when you think that she’s standing for much of that time in our unheated/uncooled warehouse. She is a retired surgical nurse from the era when nurses actually pulled supplies and sterilized them. This makes her very valuable on the stainless steel sorting team and really whenever we sort. She always claims she’s forgotten everything but she has helped us many times with items we didn’t recognize. I want to be like her when I’m in my 80s…she’s active, good natured, smart and humble. She regularly brings in donut holes and other goodies to share with all the volunteers. We love her.” 

– Terry Monday, Volunteer Programs Manager

Virginia (front, center) at a container shipment ceremony earlier this year

Name: Virginia Godkin

Age and Occupation: I will be 87 in July, and I’m a retired Surgical Nurse.

Hometown: San Leandro, CA

Please describe yourself in one sentence. Local community volunteer.

When did you first hear about MedShare? I first heard about MedShare at my therapy pool about a year after they opened their warehouse in San Leandro. I was told it was a wonderful organization and wanted to check it out for myself.

How would you describe your volunteer experience at MedShare? It has been very good and enlightening. I’d encourage anyone who has a few hours to volunteer at MedShare – it’s a great experience.

How long have you been volunteering at MedShare? Since January 2009.

What inspired you to get involved? After hearing about MedShare, I wanted to go see what it was all about. Once there, I saw all this stuff that was resurrected from hospitals and saved from landfills. People need this equipment, but it would go to waste were it not for MedShare. I wanted to help.

What is it that motivates you to keep volunteering at MedShare? I feel as though I’m accomplishing something. I volunteer two days a week, and it’s also become a social gathering for me.

Have you been involved with MedShare in other ways besides sorting supplies? If so, please explain. In addition to sorting medical supplies, I’m also helping to organize the stainless steel sorting program. I work alongside JoAnna Hansen-Morton and Camille Didas. It was backlogged for a while, but we’re getting it caught up.

What has been your favorite MedShare moment or story during your time serving with us? My favorite moments are when a container ships out to a country in need. During the shipment ceremonies, the staff does a great job of illustrating how these containers will make a difference in recipient’s lives. It is a good feeling to see our hard work make the world a better place.

To learn more about volunteering at MedShare, click here.

This is an excerpt from June’s e-newsletter. To read more – including a story of a medical mission team in Ethiopia and how we’re supporting the world’s soon-to-be newest nation – click here.