SARANAC LAKE — Several boxes of surplus medical supplies from North Country Community College’s nursing program were recently donated to the North Country Mission of Hope.
The nonprofit organization has provided support to the people of Nicaragua through educational, economic-development, health-care and ecological programs for the past 19 years.
Volunteers held a medical-supply drive earlier this month at Adirondack Health in Saranac Lake.
When Lori Bennett, a registered nurse and clinical coordinator for the NCCC’s nursing program, heard about the event, she knew what to do with items the college had in storage.
“We have things given to us that we wouldn’t use or are expired: boxes of gauze, vials of sterile water, crutches and a commode,” she said in a news release. “I called the Mission of Hope, and they said they would take it all.”
Three students from the licensed-practical nursing program — Megan Davis of Saranac Lake, Adriania Fanelli of Morristown and Emily Sorenson of Richmond, Va. — delivered the boxes and a car full of equipment.
“These are things we might take for granted but people in third-world countries can really use,” Fanelli said. “And we’re spreading education, too, so these people can lead healthier lives.”
“If we have more and they have less, let’s balance out,” Sorenson said.
This was the second time the hospital held the drive, said Jerry Stewart, a rehabilitation technician who coordinated the event at Adirondack Health.
“It started when we needed a place to recycle crutches,” he said, and once he connected with Mission of Hope and learned they had more need, “we came together on the mission drive.
“The response this year has been amazing,” he said, which may be attributed to more public awareness of the damage Nicaragua sustained during Tropical Storm Nate last month.
“My shed is full. My van is full. My storage room is full. It would be a shame to just throw all these things out when others can use them.
"And it’s such a good cause.”
Mission of Hope sent seven shipping containers of medical and school supplies, food and other vital items to the Central American country last year.
“I’d like to express our heartfelt gratitude,” said Sister Debbie Blow, the agency’s executive director, in a statement.
“This joint endeavor is one more example of how ‘hearts and hands working together’ can improve lives, as our mission states.”
Donations support the mission’s food and nutrition programs. which reach 6,500 children in 23 schools across 13 barrios, and its education and orphan-support programs sponsor and help more than 850 children.
For more information or to support the North Country Mission of Hope, visit www.ncmissionofhope.org.
Learn more about North Country Community College at www.nccc.edu.