On Wednesday, September 6, Executive Director of Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach Georgia Winson presented her program to the colleagues of HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital. Mission Outreach collects unused supplies and equipment from 67 hospitals and 18 health clinics in four states. They then repackage those materials and send this wealth of material all over the world to countries less fortunate.
This unique mission began in 2002. Last year, Mission Outreach sent 168,000 pounds of supplies to 88 countries. Winson said, “Instead of making more fodder for landfills, we have managed to secure these materials and turn them into life-saving, humanitarian aid for third-world countries. These countries have been ravaged by war, disease, famine, civil unrest and poverty, and are desperate for the materials that we would throw away because of excess. We believe that every life is worth infinite value and God loves them.”
Winson added, “We accept donations of gauze, bandages, incubators, suction machines, operating tables, therapy equipment and just about everything imaginable in medical supplies. Then our team meticulously sorts and packages these materials and equipment.”
“Volunteers are our backbone for labor. Last year, our volunteers logged 17,000 hours of labor packaging and sorting materials. As we work through other mission organizations, we find out exactly what an area needs. Then we assemble a shipping container packed and made to order to fill those needs.”
Winson told the story of responding to Haiti. She explained that many women in remote areas give birth with the help of a midwife or family member with no sanitary equipment and only the help of a midwife. Mission Outreach works with Global Health Charities to prepare and distribute Clean Birth Kits that provide sterile equipment to cut the umbilical cord, antiseptic wipes to clean the cord, bandages, sanitary pads and clean blankets for the mother and infant.
Winson shared that some of these countries are so desperate for supplies that they rewash gauze and hang it on a clothesline to dry after it is used so that they can continue to use the gauze to dress wounds. Mission Outreach supplies reduce infection by providing new, clean gauze for patients.
Most shipping containers are 40 feet in length and sealed with an international delivery seal before being sent. The value of each container, depending on its contents, begins at $120,000 to $300,000 in value.
The recipient is not charged for the price of contents of the container. The contents are provided entirely as a donation from the Sisters and their contributing donors.
The cost to acquire, sort, package, store and ship contents of a 40-shipping container can reach $30,000. Typically recipients are asked to cover about $12,000. Contributions from Mission Outreach partner hospitals and several fundraisers hosted by Mission Outreach cover the remainder of the cost for each container. In many instances, Mission Outreach donors have made it possible for Mission Outreach to cover all costs for countries hard hit by epidemics and natural disasters.
Plans are in the works for HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital to soon join in donating their extra materials and equipment to Mission Outreach. “I consider contributing to Mission Outreach as part of our fundamental mission to serve with our core values of respect, care, competence, and joy,” said HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital CEO Aaron Puchbauer. “It is another wonderful opportunity for us to care and joyfully contribute to those in need.”
For more information, to arrange a tour of the Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach facility, or to find out how you can help, too, please visit http://www.mission-outreach.org/
About HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital
Since its inception in 1916, HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville (GSS) has been dedicated to excellence in healthcare for those living and visiting their communities. GSS has accomplished this by providing comprehensive health services and meeting the needs of patients served through their compassionate care, business integrity and community responsibility. GSS provides a 24/7 emergency department that is fully staffed by physicians and highly-trained nurses, and also features inpatient and outpatient services, including a 24-hour laboratory and an imaging department that meets today’s highest standards for diagnostic imaging technology. GSS has an advanced surgery department and an acute inpatient care unit. Dedicated to being a hometown hospital, GSS’ home health and rehabilitation departments are committed to excellence with a team of professional nurses and therapists providing a variety of medical services and rehabilitative therapies, all designed to help patients heal in their own environment. The group of visiting specialists in the outpatient clinic works closely with GSS to help keep the healthcare services local even if a specialized procedure or exam is required. GSS strives to be the first choice for the community’s healthcare needs. For more information about HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital, visit www.hshsgoodshepherd.org.
About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high quality Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our 15 local systems and physician practices in Illinois (Belleville, Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org. For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visitwww.hospitalsisters.org.