StoveTeam Blog

06 Mar

The Hospital Salvage Project

So this is post isn't about stoves, but I was so moved when I read this letter from a member of my Rotary Club that I wanted to share it with you. It's another great example of what people in their 'encore' years can do to make a difference.

Lauren Alexander is an easygoing, smiling, and modest person. You wouldn't know it, but he has single-handedly facilitated the shipment of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of unused hospital supplies and equipment to developing countries, where such items are often in short supply. This is his story of how the Hospital Salvage Project came to be.

"This all started by accident.  In 2008 Ken Goyer was looking for hospital sheets to take to Uganda.  At the time I had just started volunteering at RiverBend Hospital.  I ask the head guy in the linen department if they ever had any sheets to dispose of.  For openers he gave me 3 pickup loads.  Being totally new at this I thought that was the end of the donations. They continued at a couple of loads per month.  Through connections with other Rotary clubs, that were making shipments oversees, all the linens we received were shipped off to Honduras, Uganda, The Philippines and Haiti.  After a couple of years the new manager of the hospitals supply department checked to see where all the linens were going.  After a couple of conversations and finally a letter on Rotary letterhead we passed the test.  The word Rotary kept the door open and the donations continued.

The new manager was comfortable donating large quantities to Rotary.  In fact he suggested I contact the Facility Planning Coordinator at Peace Health.  That contact led to the donation of about 2 containers full of equipment.  (beds, gurneys, exam tables, infant warmers, refrigerators, IV poles, x-ray viewers, blanket warmers, fetal monitors, over bead tables and on and on and on.  Delta Rotary helped us move it all to the American Van Lines warehouse where it was later packed in a container for shipment to Honduras.  Some was taken by the 2 Albany Rotary Clubs for shipment to Uganda and The Philippines.
In the past 2 or 3 years  we were given 3,000 adult blankets,  3,000 baby blankets, 700 isolation gowns. 5,000 pair of scrubs, thousands of patient gowns and thousands of sheets and warming blankets.  At the moment we're working with the Coos Bay/North Bend Rotary to ship warming blankets along with sewing machines to Honduras.  A home/hospital for young expectant mothers will learn to sew and make them into baby blankets or diapers.
The hospital supply manager then approached us to take all the discarded supplies.  This consist of just about every supply item you see in a hospital supply room.  Most departments in the hospital have "3rd World boxes" where they discard items that can't be put back on the shelf for various reasons.   Such thinks as unused gloves, sutures, bandages, testing supplies, stethoscopes, etc.  Sometimes the quantities are huge.  For example 7,000 I.V. needle at a wholesale cost of about $12,000.00.  Recently we've received 15 cranial access kits that probably cost $300.00 each.  Also 80 Spinal anesthesia kits. These items are transferred daily from the various Peace Health facilities to their central warehouse where we check over everything and transfer the usable items to the Mission storage.  There are a couple of Doctors I can check with to identify items.  Occasionally someone from Cascade Medical Team and Faith in Practice helps on this. 
We have limited storage at Eugene Mission and our club freight trailer stored at Eugene Sand & Gravel.  At the moment we have in storage exam tables, dental x-ray equipment, patient monitors, linens, exam gloves, surgical gloves, mask, blood pressure cuffs and on and on.  Medical Missions often contact us for supplies to take as carry on luggage.  Larger items typically are shipped by other Rotary Clubs or various organizations by the container full to hospitals overseas.  Typically there is a Rotary Club or some other contact in the receiving country.  We currently have "wish lists" from connections in El Salvador & Mexico.
Peace Health has recently offered us more equipment to be picked up shortly such as exam tables,  gurneys, refrigerators, blood pressure gages, storage lockers and so forth. 
 In recent months items have been sent to Guatemala, El Salvador, Kenya, Honduras, Ivory Coast, Afghanistan, Eugene Mission, San Francisco Impact Mission, local shelters and others."


Transporting, sorting, and shipping these items takes enormous effort. If you'd like to help, please contact us at and we will connect with you Lauren.