World health non-profit Esperança will host its first medical-supply drive on June 3 to benefit hospitals and clinics in Nicaragua.

A Phoenix-based global health non-profit, Esperança, is hosting a medical-supply collection drive to benefit hospitals and clinics in Nicaragua. 

The event, located at 1911 W. Earll Drive in Phoenix, will run from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m on June 3.

The organization is accepting any medical supplies — except for gels, creams and liquids — that are in workable condition. The supplies will be shipped to Jinotega, Nicaragua.

Giving hope to countries in need

Esperança, Portuguese for “hope,” is a global health organization that provides for poor communities through sustainable disease prevention, education and treatment, according to its website. It serves four countries outside of the United States: Bolivia, Mozambique, Nicaragua and Peru.  

“We offer health education, food security, water, surgery — we offer those to all of the countries and communities we serve,” said McKenzie Simmons, development director for Esperança. “We do partner with an NGO (non-governmental organization) in each of those communities, so we do relevant work with the communities.”

Simmons said the non-profit maintains contact with non-governmental organizations to identify specific community needs to provide the best aid, as opposed to randomly implementing programs.

“The needs are changing, and we align with the needs,” Simmons said.

There is a lot of flexibility within the organization to meet the requirements of each community, she added.

Donating supplies for a good cause

Every year, Esperança delivers shipments — called Shipments of Hope — filled with donated medical supplies to hospitals and clinics in Nicaragua. The medical-supply drive helps raise the necessary goods to provide the donations, which are sent roughly three times a year.

Simmons said about $2.5 million worth of medical supplies is delivered to Nicaragua each year.

According to the National Academy of Medicine, an estimated $765 billion worth of medical supplies are thrown out each year. Esperança hopes that instead of throwing out usable supplies, health-care companies, hospitals and residents will donate them to countries in need. 

More: Avondale gun shop hosts auction to benefit injured state trooper

The non-profit is seeking medical supplies of all shapes and sizes, including electric wheelchairs, gauze, syringes, bedding, surgical face masks and anesthesia machines.   

According to Simmons, surgeons from Esperança are only in Nicaragua about 70 days out of the year during their weeklong trips. The medical supplies help sustain the clinics and hospitals during the times the surgeons are not on site.   

Simmons said the Esperança website also accepts monetary donations.

Providing health education

Esperança also works domestically with the Murphy Elementary School District in Phoenix on educating young children in Spanish-speaking communities through after-school programs. The programs, which run in the fall and spring, are culturally specific and more meaningful to the communities they serve.   

“We provide health education that is attainable and relevant,” Simmons said. “We cook healthy foods that are relevant to the food they’re going to get at home so they can transfer that knowledge.”

More: Americans waste food because we’re confused – and because we can

Simmons hopes that people will attend the medical-supply drive to learn more about the organization.

“Have some coffee. Hang out. Connect with us. We would be honored to share our story with you,” Simmons said. 


Wait, are you going to toss that food? A Phoenix area group can help

UMOM takes over homeless youth services from bankrupt Tumbleweed

Read or Share this story: