By Emma Wolff
Did you know that $765 billion worth of unused medical supplies end up in landfills annually? Every year equipment and resources like gauze, surgical tape, stethoscopes, face masks and scrubs are dumped into landfills when they could be utilized by those in need both in the U.S. and abroad. This local Girl Scout’s mission is to recycle and find better use for these perfectly good medical supplies.
Eden Sapien, 15, made it her goal to help the people of Arizona by getting them needed medical supplies. She spent the last 10 years as a Girl Scout helping her community, but this year she wanted to do even more. She is currently working toward her Gold Award, the highest recognition a Girl Scout can achieve.
The Gold Award is presented to girls in high school who have planned and executed significant take action projects in response to pressing community needs. The Gold Award is presented to fewer than 6% of Girl Scouts annually. In general, each Girl Scout will spend roughly two years on her passion project.
For her Gold Award project, Sapien started “Saving Supplies Saves Lives.”
“Seeing the impact these donations make on people’s lives is my favorite thing about my project,” says Sapien. “People who have lost loved ones and have leftover medical supplies they don’t know what to do with are so happy to know the supplies will be used to help someone else in need.”
Sapien’s mission works to create a partnership between Esperança, a global nonprofit organization, and medical establishments to donate gently used or new medical equipment and supplies.
Esperança provides seniors and low-income community members the medical equipment they cannot afford. Not only does the Esperança group help health facilities in the Valley, but it assists others globally. The organization works in countries all over the world including Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua and Mozambique. They partner with nonprofit organizations in each country to supply under-resourced hospitals and clinics with supplies and equipment.
All the supplies provided to Esperança are acquired through donations. Not only can medical establishments contribute gently used or unused equipment, but individuals can contribute as well. Any supplies remaining from a medical procedure or from a deceased loved one can be donated to this cause. Esperança has also found a way to repurpose surgical and expired medical supplies for safe future use. The nonprofit group can accept sealed and expired supplies from manufactures too, including gloves, tubing, catheters and syringes.
All donations are welcomed, no matter how big or small. In the past, Sapien has received adult diapers, diabetic supplies, walkers and crutches.
She is actively collecting supplies for her project. Donations can be accepted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Safety precautions are in place with mask wearing during donation drop offs. All donated items are sanitized before distribution.
For more information about how you can contribute to Sapien’s Gold Award project, visit her website at savingsuppliessaveslives.weebly.com.