Anyone who has lost a family member understands that along with the five stages of loss and grief come totally unsought worldly tasks, among them: clearing out clothing, home furnishing, medical equipment and supplies.
While there are lots of ways to dispose of clothing and furnishings, medical equipment offers a real challenge. Goodwill and Purple Heart will not accept wheelchairs, bathtub benches, etc. let alone valuable sealed and unopened supplies such as pads, dressings, tube feeding bags and cans of tube feeding formula. So a lot of valuable stuff ends up in the landfill.
I was a failure at sorting through and clearing out my mom and dad’s personal belongings. At the time, the task was just too great for me. Fast forward 21 years since my father’s passing and 12 years since mom passed, we were again faced with a loved one’s passing – Colleen’s mom.
After months of sorting and trips to Goodwill we were down to confronting the medical equipment. We had a room nearly stacked to the ceiling with equipment and supplies which no one would take. Still, we refused to toss all the stuff into the landfill because it was too valuable and very difficult to come by.
Then we discovered World Medical Relief (WMR).
World Medical Relief, a private not-for-profit organization, was born in 1953 in Detroit and… “operate(s) exclusively for charitable purposes, helping the poor, sick, and elderly on a local, national, and international basis.” The mission of World Medical Relief is to, “turn the sins of waste into the miracles of mercy by collecting and distributing medical supplies, medicines, and recycled medical equipment for the betterment of mankind”.
WMR's founder, a Detroit housewife, Irene M. Auberlin, mobilized her friends and family to collect food, baby clothing, cribs, and medicines to ship overseas to help a Korean War orphan. Her original goal, helping one little boy, “turned into a much larger mission: relieving the pain and suffering of an entire orphanage filled with 400 hurting children”. Later, Mrs. Auberlin and her husband Lester expanded WMR and “began collecting and distributing recycled medical and dental equipment, medical supplies, and medicines to aid thousands of sick and poor people around the globe.”
Today World Medical Relief is an approximately $36 million, 501(c)3 nonprofit, (calendar year 2013) operating several local and international programs, including: the Affordable Prescription Program, the Medical Supply Program, the Durable Medical Equipment Program, the Local Shipping Program and the Blanket Relief Program. WMR collaborates with and coordinates with a host of churches, service groups, medical missionaries, hospitals, doctors, medical labs.
From the WMR 2013 Form 990:
INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS SHIPPED MEDICAL SUPPLIES, EQUIPMENT, AND PRESCRIPTION DRUGS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD FOR THE BENEFIT OF INDIGENT PERSONS. ACTIVITY FOR THE YEAR CONSISTED OF 85 SHIPMENTS TO 20 COUNTRIES. THIS WAS ACCOMPLISHED WITH THE HELP OF OVER 2,200 VOLUNTEERS PROVIDING MORE THAN 17,800 HOURS OF SERVICE.
LOCAL MEDICAL RELIEF PROGRAMS PROVIDED PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, DURABLE MEDICAL EQUIPMENT, AND MEDICAL SUPPLIES TO NEEDY AREA CITIZENS. DURING 2013, THESE PROGRAMS FILLED 22,104 PRESCRIPTIONS, LOANED 439 PIECES OF EQUIPMENT, AND FILLED 399 MEDICAL SUPPLY ORDERS FOR THE BENEFIT OF APPROXIMATELY 25,000 INDIVIDUALS. THIS WAS ACCOMPLISHED WITH THE HELP OF OVER 2,200 VOLUNTEERS PROVIDING MORE THAN 17,800 HOURS OF SERVICE.
This August, World Medical Relief will move into new quarters in Southfield. Please take a look at World Medical Relief – one outstanding organization which is serving to help others in Metro Detroit and throughout the world. Please go here for more information: http://www.worldmedicalrelief.org/