The Charity That Turned 1000 Tons Of Trash Into Treasure
Oct 13, 2021 by Rob Freeman
Updated: Aug 11, 2022
The Charity That Turned 1000 Tons of Trash Into Treasure
In the late 1800’s a large coin was minted in Peru with the engraving “Un Sol”. A hundred years later it felt quite heavy in my hands when I was given it from my grandfather Robert McAllister. It’s only worth 31 cents in today’s currency in Peru, but it is quite valuable to me as a reminder of something quite significant. My eponym was in Peru in the early 1980’s to bring used hospital equipment from Canada. For this work he was appointed to the Order of the Sun of Peru, established in 1821, as well as the Order of Canada, established in 1967.
A similar mission is currently underway in Thunder Bay called MEMO: Medical Equipment Mobilization Opportunity, led by Dr. Jerome Harvey. Redundant hospital equipment is being gathered and shipped in large ocean containers to countries in desperate need for these supplies.
It all began with the surplus and upgraded equipment from the merger of the Port Arthur General Hospital and the McKellar Hospital in Thunder Bay in 2004, inspiring Dr. Harvey to find a good use for these valuable resources. Cuba was the first country to pull on their hearts, with their mission now expanded to include Bolivia in South America and Zimbabwe in Africa, and include a larger number of hospitals that continue to replace about 10% of their equipment every year.
To date since the beginning of this operation they have shipped an incredible 93 ocean containers, with number 94 shipping soon. About $12,000 is raised to purchase each of these containers – a small price to pay considering the 10 tons of donated hospital equipment and other resources worth about $150,000 that are packed into each of them.
These medical supplies and other resources restore lives, build businesses, provide education, assist with farming and drill wells. Even the containers are put to good use, becoming a classroom, library, small business building, or help build a church.
There are several ways that you could become a part of this powerful venture.
Volunteers are continually needed to prepare items for shipment as well as do administrative work from home. And when the time comes to pack a container a large group of volunteers is needed.
Donations are needed to purchase the next container. And right now they are looking for someone who can provide a large warehouse where significant quantities of donated items can be stored while waiting to be shipped to a location where they can be put to good use.
If the date hasn’t already passed, you can attend their virtual fundraiser on October 24. To learn more about Memo and this fundraiser, click here.
To learn more about the Order of Canada, click here.
Thunder Bay Area Manager