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Mission Outreach: Helping People All Over the World
The United States health care system is full of world-class doctors and world-class medical equipment. That's why many call it the best in the world. But other countries around the globe would do anything to have just a little bit of what we have. That's where a local Springfield organization comes in.
The Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach Center in Springfield is 23,000 square feet. At any given time, there is more than $3 million in medical supplies and equipment--surplus materials recovered primarily from hospitals, clinics, and medical manufactures in Illinois and Wisconsin.
"We ship things as diverse as x-ray machines and as basic as bandages," executive director Georgia Winson said. "Syringes, wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, and fetal monitors."
So where do all these supplies go? They are shipped all over the world, to more than 200 medical missions in 73 countries, including Jamaica, Haiti, Mexico, Egypt, and the Philippines.
"People, when we send these containers, they are really very joyful about the fact they will be able to treat people in a higher quality way because of these supplies and equipment," Winson said.
This is a major operation. Volunteers from across central Illinois come here daily, helping organize and pack medical supplies.
"I have a friend who works in the Mission in Africa, so it is personal," Evelyn Carder, a volunteer, said.
For 10 years, Mission Outreach has distributed more than $24 million worth of usable medical equipment worldwide. Without Mission Outreach, most of these items would end up in a landfill.
"At the end of the day, you have worked hard," Carder said. "You have worked hard, but you have accomplished something."
Beginning in 2013, Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach will be the official charity of the International Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon. If you would like to volunteer at Mission Outreach, visit our WebWatch section for more information.