I've been volunteering at Global Links for almost ten years, after going to volunteer with a group of friends. I now go twice a week, and help sort donated supplies and organize and pack outgoing boxes of supplies. It is very rewarding because you know you are both helping people in the developing world--and in a real way, with deliveries to actual small hospitals visited by Global Links staff. Nothing sits on a dock where it is stolen. Also, you are helping to keep medical supplies out of Pittsburgh landfills, where all these supplies were going to end up until Global Links founder Kathleen Hower thought of this ingenious idea. I have met wonderful people volunteering there, and have formed friendships with other volunteers who go when I do and staff.
Global Links is the most successful nonprofit organization around. With a small staff and very low overhead, they recycle medical supplies from hospitals (which would have thrown these supplies out) and send them to specific partner hospitals (mostly in Latin America) which are desperate for basic medical equipment, including beds and sheets! Directed by talented staff members, volunteers do all the sorting and repacking of supplies for shipment, each day and many evenings.
I've been volunteering at Global Links for a while now, and I can't believe the enormous amount of medical supplies Global Links processes.
It's my very favorite place to volunteer: the joyfulness of the people who work there, the gratitude and sweetness of everyone who works there, the efficient way things are organized, and fun that it all turns out to be.
Wonderful homegrown nonprofit which combines hands-on service work with important donations of medical supplies to health programs in developing countries
Global Links is AWESOME!!!! They worked very closely with us in trying to get a dental clinic set up and stocked in Honduras. They even had a local dentist come in and help us decide what we needed since we are medical, not dental. They are a wonderful source of supplies and assistance for our medical work in Honduras!
I initially volunteered with Global Links for its healthcare efforts in developing countries. Since then I have found a whole other side to its mission; i.e. environmental stewardship/sustainability. I have also discovered that the staff are essentially committed to this mission (Sharing Surplus/Saving Lives) and live it. The result? A very well run organization that keeps trying to make itself better (less wasteful, more efficient, more collaborative to name just a few traits). Having spent the better part of my 40 year career in either non-profits or government, I recognize the extreme difficulty of paying attention to and developing such things as governance (structure, risk-management, legality, etc) while also pursing a mission. Global Links does this extremely well from what I can see. Example: Over the last year or so, they have consolidated three facilities into one new location -- with their own staff and volunteers -- while also maintaining the work of the organization. They have their values , as well as their heads and hearts and efforts, in the right place.
I was required to do volunteer hours after an alternative spring break trip with my university. We had initially visited global links for educational purposes, but then I decided I wanted to volunteer there as well. I had a fantastic experience learning about the amazing projects Global Links did across the world and talking with other volunteers. I felt so comfortable around all the volunteers and enjoyed talking and working together. I recommend this to all college students who need volunteer hours because it doesn't even feel like work.
Global links is a great non-profit! All of the staff really care about what they're doing and making a difference to the hospitals and communities they work with. As a regular volunteer, I really feel like I'm making a difference too!
Every year for the past 30 years I have taken a group of undergraduate students from Notre Dame of Maryland University to learn about socio-economic development and to volunteer their services in San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala. This year, I heard about Global Links and their ability to supply medicines and medical equipment to people on medical and other missions in the developing world. I contacted them, provided them with information about the 65 bed clinic in San Lucas, which is a part of an integral development project started by Father Greg Schaeffer from the Diocese of New Ulm, Minnessota, and within weeks I had the supplies. I really appreciated the immediate response and the lack of bureaucracy of Global Links. Dr. Tum, the cakchiquel doctor, who was trained in Minnessota, couldn't believe that we, as non-medical volunteers had brought sutures, syringes, needles, gloves to his clinic. Payment for services and medications at the San Lucas Clinic is based on need. Since the average income of patients is between $1,000 and $2,000 a year, most services are provided free of charge. It was particularly significant for our group to have brought the medical donations this year, as Father Greg, the creator of the project, had died only a few months earlier.
My relationship with Global Links started when I attended a fund raising event in December, 2009. I was impressed with the work of this charity in donating medical supplies to developing countries in the Caribbean and Africa. I became a volunteer and donate my time about once a month.
Due to my volunteer work, I was surprised to see the mount of medical supplies discarded in the US that still can be used. Global Links saw the need and collects the excess medical supplies and distribute the materials to under serviced countries. If Global Links didn’t collect these materials, it would end up in landfills. Therefore, I commend Global Links for its charity work in assisting Caribbean and African countries with their medical needs.
I was able to secure a generous donation of medical supplies to Grenada (my homeland) of $111,000 in December of 2011. The donation was based on their needs and included furnishings, equipment, medical supplies and instruments. Global Links did an excellent job and the donated supplies have helped the citizens of Grenada.
I have a long standing partnership with the medical department at Kamuzu Central Cemtral Hospital in Malawi, and I coordinate service-learning rotations for medical students and residents in Pittsburgh. We get requests from KCH for medical supply, anything from microscopes, centrifuges, syringes, glucometers and various catheters. Global Links has always been very helpful and responsive to KCH and our needs often clarifying its specific use and making suggestions for alternatives to fit the low resource environment and adapting to users that are also learning the tools. GL always asks for feedback and ready for future trips and challenges. I'm grateful that we have them in our city but I know that distance is NOT a problem for GL! Our group of learners volunteer with GL to sort medical supplies and to transport sutures to other hospitals in Malawi.