Dan Gallant never knows what he’s going to get when he picks up the phone.
Whether it’s a hospital with 100 beds to offload, an optometrist with a brand new printer that doesn’t work in her office or a linen company with a stack of sheets and gowns to give away, Gallant takes it all with a smile.
That’s because he knows each and every item he and other Rotary World Help volunteers collect from hospitals, seniors’ homes, doctors’ and dentists’ offices, clinics and individuals will eventually find its way to a community in dire need of medical supplies and equipment.
“We like to think of ourselves as a big recycling project,” said Dan Gallant, a member of Port Moody Rotary and a director on the World Help board, noting the organizations saves the healthcare system from paying cartage or tipping fees, keeps equipment out of landfills and helps those in less fortunate areas around the world.
Shipments are triggered when Rotary World Help receives a humanitarian request from a club in a developing country.
Volunteers arrive at the Riverview warehouse, where stacks of hospital beds and mattresses, wheelchairs, crutches, X-ray machines and baby incubators are surrounded by boxes of medical supplies waiting to be inspected, sorted and repackaged. About once a month the supplies are loaded on to a 40-foot shipping container, destined for communities in developing countries in need of medical and dental equipment.
“When we fill a container there’s no empty space,” said Gallant. “We’re paying good money to ship it and we want to fill it up.”
Containers are sponsored by the 38 B.C. Rotary clubs that are members of the World Help network, either by larger, individual clubs or from contributions from the smaller groups. Others contribute by collecting items throughout the year and sending them down to Coquitlam when they have a trailer full.
Depending on the destination the shipments can range from about $5,000 (Philippines) to more than $12,000 (South Africa), and the receiving club assumes responsibility for clearing the shipment through customs, distributing the supplies and submitting an accountability report.
The operation has come a long way since its inception nearly 25 years ago.
In 1992 a group of Rotarians established a club in Kiev, Ukraine, and during their visit noticed the sparse medical facilities. Upon their return they “scavenged enough supplies” to fill a container for Kiev and “the seed was planted,” Gallant said.
Rotary World Help was officially formed in 1997, and the supplies have arrived steadily ever since.
In fact, the organization is so well known that scavenging for donations is a thing of the past.
“They call us,” said Rotary World Help president Ann Hulbert. And it’s not just for medical supplies — books, school supplies and, recently, several pallets loaded with Canadian dictionaries were received for the group’s humanitarian efforts.
So Gallant’s phone keeps ringing, and he’s happy to keep picking it up to find out what Rotary World Help will get next.
• For more information and details on donating, visit www.rotaryworldhelp.com.
BY THE NUMBERS (as of February 2016)
• Containers shipped: 341
• Receiving countries: 59
• Estimated value of goods shipped: $119.4 million
• People who have benefitted from shipments (30,000 for each shipment): 10.2 million
© Copyright 2016 Tri-City News
Rotary and “SHARE” for the Generous Heart Food Drive:
William Richwa Obituary – Vancouver, BC | The Vancouver Sun
RICHWA _ William. Born on November 8th, 1930 and died peacefully on December 23rd, 2005 after a courageous battle with cancer. Bill is survived by Gerry his devoted and loving wife of 56 years, his daughters and sons-in-law Leslie (Michael), Barb (Peter), Judy (David), Pat (Steve), and his grandchildren Jennifer, Sarah, Lauren, Cameron, Alexandra, Mackenzie, Madison, Aron, Paige, Briar, Michael, Laurence and Elizabeth. Bill leaves a legacy of love, devotion, strength and honor to his family. Bill was born in Saskatoon, Sask. to Peter and Tatianna Rychwa, completing his formal education at Saskatoon School of Business. He began his career with Intercontinental Packers, transferring to Vancouver and continuing his work with the company until 1969. Bill was involved in a number of business ventures, eventually becoming the owner of Windsor Meats in West Vancouver in 1972. He was engaged in numerous community organizations, including the Associated Canadian Travelers and as President of the Junior Big 4 Football Association. Retiring in 1988, Bill became extensively involved in the Rotary Club of Vancouver, serving as Secretary in 1997. Under Bill’s leadership as founding president of the Rotary World Help Network, needy countries have been provided with donated medical equipment, educational supp-lies and other materials. In 1996, the Rotary Club of Vancouver awarded Bill the “Paul Harris Fellowship” in recognition of exceptional humanitarian service. In 1999, he was again honored with the “Service Above Self Award” by Rotary International, its highest award for an individual. The family wishes to express its sincere appreciation to the staff and nurses of the 7th Floor East and Palliative Care at Lions Gate Hospital, and to Bill’s dedicated, long-time family physician Dr. Leon Bard. A memorial service will be held on January 17th, 2006 at 2:00 pm at St. Andrew’s – Wesley Church, 1022 Nelson Avenue (at Burrard) , with church reception to follow. Bill has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Rotary World Help Network, care of Rotary Club of Vancouver, #315-475 Howe Street, Vancouver, V63 2B3.
Published in Vancouver Sun on Jan. 13, 2006
– See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/vancouversun/obituary.aspx?n=william-richwa&pid=16304836#sthash.4KYBm1Ad.dpuf
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