Supplies Over Seas Delivers a World of Health and Hope

July 26, 2015 - 9:30pm


Tucked away in the Clifton area of Louisville, Supplies Over Seas (SOS) volunteers and staff have been recovering, sorting, recycling, and shipping surplus medical supplies and equipment from hospitals, nursing homes, organizations and individuals to equip clinics, nursing schools, and medical missions around the world.  SOS began as an outreach program of the Greater Louisville Medical Society in 1992.

To achieve their mission to meet critical healthcare needs in developing countries around the world by recovering and redistributing surplus medical supplies and equipment,  a team of dedicated professional staff leads an extraordinary volunteer effort to recover the Waste: the 6-10 million tons of unused and underused medical supplies that could be used to provide care, and then manage to provide a measure of relief to the Want: the millions among the world’s poor who die due to a lack of access to basic medical care. 

Through methods such as hand carry, custom box, custom pallet, and container shipment, necessary medical supplies and equipment are brought or sent to hospitals and clinics around the world.  Over 100 (38) countries and the US received lifesaving medical supplies, including medical missions and container deliveries to clinics and hospitals in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Papua New Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Kenya, resulting in much-needed medical supplies and equipment to provide lifesaving medical care to those poorly supplied rural clinics where people who need care and would otherwise go without. 

There are many extraordinary stories at Supplies Over Seas of Louisville-based corporate sponsorship of container shipments to match corporate interests of geographic concern.  The local Liberian refugee community worked with Lush Cosmetics on a grant to ship medical supplies and equipment for a clinic in Monrovia, Liberia (Sierra Leone), which supplies many of the ingredients in producing Lush brand cosmetics.  Brown-Forman sponsored a container to a community clinic in tequila-supplying Mexico. Individuals in the community sponsor containers or hand-carry shipments on medical missions all over the world.

Where would all of this medical surplus have gone?  Landfills.  Supplies Over Seas has diverted 236,810 lbs. of medical surplus from landfills.  Area hospitals and medical centers utilize Supplies Over Seas as Medical Recycling Partners in their efforts to meet their goals to donate un- and under-used medical surplus and assist in promoting environmental stewardship by recovering what would otherwise go into a landfill. 

How can you help the Louisville community continue the mission begun by the Greater Louisville Medical Society? Do you have time to volunteer?  Help in a “Saturday Sort Session” as an individual, or with a school, social, service, corporate, or school group. Or, make a charitable donation to help fund shipments overseas.  SOS is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, and all donations are tax-deductible as provided by law.  You can also donate your own medical surplus!  Be green and don’t throw out those crutches, canes, wheelchairs and unused medical supplies… SOS can get these supplies to people who need them.  Sponsor a “Band-Aid Raid” and collect boxed bandages or other medical supplies at your place of worship or workplace. 

And last?  Spread the word!  Take a tour; see how the volunteers transform the medical surplus into lifesaving medical material.  Tell people about the recovery work done at Supplies Over Seas to keep medical surplus OUT of area landfills and provide lifesaving medical care around the world!

For a tour, view

 “Delivering a World of Health and Hope”



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