A charity organization with a new chapter started this summer by University at Albany students will be warehousing locally collected items in Bethlehem.
The college’s chapter of Advocates for World Health will be using warehouse space provided by Spotlight News on a continuing basis. The non-profit collects surplus medical supplies from hospitals and medical offices from throughout the region and redistributes them to impoverished nations throughout the world.
“We work as the middle man,” said the chapter’s co-president Heather Sickler, 22. “We collect the supplies from hospitals, house them, and then wait for them to be shipped-off to be repurposed and used around the world.”
Advocates for World Health work with IMEC Global Green, a larger organization which services more than 80 countries by providing surplus medical supplies. IMEC provides funding and transportation of the medical supplies overseas.
“We were happy to provide the space to help out this great cause,” said Spotlight Publisher John McIntyre. “They say, ‘Think globally, act locally’ and that’s what this initiative is doing.”
Sickler, who is obtaining her Master’s Degree in Public Health, said she was approached over the summer by the main chapter in Tampa, Fla. about starting a local chapter, in order to further outreach. There are only 12 chapters throughout the country so far.
Sickler then asked her friend, Adam Goodcoof to be her co-president. Both had been co-presidents of the college’s Pre-Med Club as undergraduates.
“I liked the message and what they were trying to do,” said Sickler. About 50 rotating volunteers are now involved with the cause at UAlbany.
The organization works to keep surplus medical supplies and equipment out of landfills, while sending them to people in need.
The local chapter did its first drive over the summer in Troy. Now, the organization is collecting supplies to be sent to the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan, which reportedly killed more than 5,000 people.