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MedWish International saves lives by repurposing unused medical equipment

Posted at 9:07 AM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-20 18:36:00-05

CLEVELAND — It is Random Acts of Kindness Week and what better way to show love than by helping others. This week, we're taking you to different nonprofits in the Greater Cleveland area and showing you how important their volunteers are.

This time, we're at MedWish International in Cleveland. They repurpose unused medical equipment and devices to help people in need worldwide, and it all starts here.

"We can't get through all the donations without volunteers," said Caley Haehn, volunteer program manager at MedWish.

"Last year, we were just shy of 20,000 volunteer hours," said Caley.

MedWish takes in 30,000 pounds of stuff every month. Mostly from our big hospital systems. So, they're always in need of volunteers to help sort and pack.

"There's a never-ending supply of supplies, and there's a never-ending supply of things to do," said Caley.

"This is good stuff," said Tom Strickler, volunteer.

He says he gets great satisfaction from volunteering at MedWish.

"It's nice to know it's not going the garbage dump, but to folks who otherwise may not be able to get this equipment," he said.

He reminds us all that something as simple as sorting medical supplies can have a big impact.

"It doesn't take a grandiose thing with a lot of money to make a difference," he says. "It just takes some of your time."

"It just made sense to pay it forward," said volunteer Steve Goodman.

He is a retired school teacher and helps sort items in MedWish's alternative recycling program. They are things too close to expiring or can't be shipped out for other reasons. They are offered to local nonprofits, animal shelters, homeless shelters, schools, churches or camps.

"There's just a lot of negative in the world so being in a place like this, with other people who are taking time out of their day to give to a bigger cause, it just makes you feel good," said Caley.

MedWish is great for individual or group volunteer events.

Greater Cleveland Volunteers can connect you. The nonprofit helps connect people to volunteer opportunities that match their passion and schedule. Find more info here.

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