ASHLAND, KY (WOWK) — “It is almost like Christmas early for us. To know now that we can tell our boards, ‘Hey, now we don’t have to budget for that for the last three months of the year, we actually have a partner who’s going to come in and help us.’ Listen, I’m going to hug ‘em before they get out of the car,” says Jeremy Holbrook, director of The Neighborhood—which houses multiple nonprofits.
Holbrook is referring to SOS International, a medical surplus recovery organization.
“There’s about seven accredited in the United States and we just happen to be based in Louisville. So what we do is we get donations from hospitals and other medical partners and then we redistribute them to partners in the community who need those items and supplies,” says Portia Watson, local health program manager for SOS International.
This is their first trip to Ashland to distribute these medical supplies to around a dozen organizations, including nonprofits like those located in The Neighborhood and local career and technical centers.
“We do a medical assistant program and then a phlebotomy and EKG program… Supplies help us to teach our students and that way they can perform their hands-on skills so they can pass their certifications and when they graduate they can go out and begin working,” says Andrea Rose, R.N., a nursing instructor at the Russell Area Technical Center.
Supplies range from personal protective equipment to more specialized gear. This shipment includes more than 3,500 pounds of supplies worth more than $50,000 dollars.
The need for these supplies has only grown due to the pandemic.
“COVID’s been hard. Our fundraising, our events has been much lower than normal over the last couple years. They knew that, so they said, ‘How can we help?’” Holbrook says.
“There’s just a shortage of healthcare professionals so this is really gonna help the students as well as our area hospitals and facilities,” Rose says.
Many at the event share a similar sentiment:
“We’re just appreciative. It is truly offset some expenses that we were desperate for,” Holbrook says.
While SOS is based in Louisville, the program manager says local organizations can still get involved.
For more information, visit their website here.