The health care industry is one of the single most polluting industries in the country. According to Practice Green Health, American hospitals generate approximately 6,600 tons of waste daily. Combine that with the World Health Organization’s estimate that more than 10 million children under the age of five die due to inadequate medical care.
In 1998, A.B. Short and Bob Freeman created MedShare to serve the overlooked sector of excess supplies and the environment of the health care industry.
The organization partners with hospitals, clinics, medical manufacturers and distributors to collect surplus supplies and equipment. Medshare then sends these materials to underserved medical facilities across the globe.
“The supplies and equipment that MedShare collects and redistributes to needy healthcare facilities abroad are saved from landfills and incinerators, and in 12 years of operations, we have saved over 1.2 million cubic feet of landfill space,” said spokesperson Kimberly McCollum.
Twelve years later, the charity is still thriving. Most recently, MedShare was named a 2010 Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP) winner by the 2010 CalRecycle Waste Reduction Award Program.
“We at MedShare take the ‘green’ aspect of our mission very seriously and strive to maximize our positive environmental impact in the communities we serve,” said Short in a press release earlier this month.
Over the past year, the MedShare team has been diligent in its continued efforts in post-quake Haiti. Just one day after the earthquake, Short was on the ground in Haiti, working with victims to assess the damage and supplies needed to remedy major injuries and assist local clinics.
Since Jan. 12, 2010, MedShare has shipped 28 40-foot containers filled with more than 168 tons of life-saving medical supplies and equipment to needy hospitals in Haiti. The organization has supplied 83 medical mission teams with more than 14,000 pounds of medical supplies for treating the sick and injured.
Now, Haiti faces yet another challenge: An outbreak of more than 103,300 cases of cholera have been reported in the country. MedShare says donation and support is still needed as the country recovers.
While MedShare primarily works with health care organizations, anyone can get involved by donation. Through MedShare’s Boxes of Hope campaign, donors can pay to sponsor supply packages of crucial first aid supplies, such as syringes, sterile gloves and gowns, labor and delivery kits, biopsy kits and surgical kits. Supporters can sponsor a minimum of two boxes for $40, up to a maximum of 1,000 boxes for $22,000.
But if the bank account is low this holiday season, there are volunteer opportunities with MedShare in both its Atlanta and Northern California facilities. Most volunteers are responsible for sorting through medical equipment that will be shipping to other countries, but the charity values all trades brought to the table, “whatever your skills, we will put them to good use,” MedShare says.
To see where your money goes, check out MedShare’s recently released video update on its latest efforts in Haiti.