SOS (Supplies Over Seas), a humanitarian aid program of the Greater Louisville Medical Society Foundation and Hand in Hand Ministries, loaded a 40-foot container with 9,300 pounds of donated medical supplies valued at nearly $190,000 on April 22 for the ongoing relief effort in Haiti. Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s HealthCare and the JHSMH Medical Staff provided $12,500 to sponsor the container, which will go directly to Haiti for distribution by shipping partner Baptist World Alliance.
This is the third shipment from SOS to Haiti since the devastating earthquake more than three months ago. The supplies will go to a Baptist hospital in Cap-Haitien on the northern coast of the country, a major destination for earthquake victims who left Port-au-Prince.
“The hospital continues to treat victims related to the earthquake,” SOS Senior Executive Allen Montgomery said. “And since Haiti is such a poor country, the hospital has a tremendous amount of ongoing needs. We take seriously our mission to match our surplus with their needs. So we worked very closely with the hospital to determine what their critical needs were.”
SOS continues to gather and process supplies for at least two additional shipments to Haiti. Two pallets of supplies were shipped five days after the earthquake. An outpouring of assistance from volunteers and donors allowed SOS to send a 40-foot container of aid on February 3.
“There are ongoing challenges in getting needed supplies to Haiti in a manner that is most helpful to the recipients,” said Montgomery, who explained that customs approval from Haitian officials is taking longer at this time because of the country’s limitations with storage and distribution.
“It is our mission to provide health care to those in need,” said Martin Bonick, president and CEO of Jewish Hospital Medical Campus. “We are just a small part of the world delegation stepping forward to help those in Haiti by sending the necessary health care supplies that will save lives and provide treatment options. Our medical staff and JHSMH team members have been a big part of this as well, with many of them taking the extra step by traveling to Haiti to provide care.”
The SOS program is a community-wide homegrown effort started by Louisville physicians that unites the local medical community to help the neediest communities around the world. Volunteer physicians, nurses and medical students collect and sort excess medical supplies and equipment from area medical facilities. Eighty-seven underdeveloped countries have received more than 530 tons of medical supplies gathered from the Louisville area, since the organization’s inception in 1993.
To donate funds, go to www.suppliesoverseas.org. To help sort supplies, individuals can schedule to volunteer during the following regular sorting times: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and every second and fourth Saturday. A medical background is helpful, but not necessary.
To volunteer or donate medical supplies, call 736-6360. Items can be scheduled for pick-up or can be dropped off at the SOS Warehouse, 1500 Arlington Ave., Louisville, KY 40206. A list of the most-needed supplies is available at www.suppliesoverseas.org.