The beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina
Unloading medical supplies at Samaritan's Purse
Boxes waiting for shipment in time for Christmas
I’d been planning for weeks to do something about the pile of donations in the Clinic basement that we couldn’t use. Although we maintained an updated list of needs on our website, well-meaning folks still arrived at Red Bird with donations of medical supplies and equipment that we could not use. Much of the equipment was outdated, we had enough already (crutches), or patients could get a new one free of charge from Medicare (walkers, for example). There is a high cost to handling unneeded donations: the cost of storage, sorting, and disposal could be significant. For us, the solution meant volunteers made too many trips to a dumpster. The remaining supplies and equipment were verified as usable by Samaritan’s Purse, an international humanitarian organization with a medical supply arm headquartered in Boone, North Carolina (it’s director is Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham).
And so one weekend we loaded up a large van (and I mean loaded to the gills), and Alan and I set off for North Carolina to deliver the goods. The Blue Ridge Mountains were spectacular in their late spring greenery. And, yes, the humidity creates a bluish haze over the rolling hills. Samaritan’s Purse is tucked away in these ridges, a surprisingly large organization whose global reach touches children through its Operation Christmas Child, whose clean water and homebuilding services were working overtime after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, whose food was being shipped to hungry around the world, and whose healthcare supplies fill clinics and hospital worldwide. They welcomed our donations and gave us a personal tour of their operation. It was good to be able to share the overabundance that Red Bird Clinic had received, passing forward the gifts of others.