In 2018, SOS began piloting the Local Health Program to promote health equity and improve the overall well-being of our community. In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and the vast disparities it has illuminated worldwide, improving equitable access to medical care and education in our own communities has never been more important.
SOS makes a tremendous and unparalleled impact on our local communities by donating medical supplies and equipment to over 300 partner agencies specializing in healthcare, education, animal welfare, and social services throughout the state, impacting thousands of lives each year. In addition, the redistribution of these supplies serves to protect our local environment and water sources through diverting 500,000+ pounds of waste annually from landfills.
The Local Health Program continues to grow and expand, actively cultivating new partnerships and finding better ways to serve existing partners. In 2020, the program donated 82,000 pounds of supplies to various local organizations, representing a value of $1.5 million in support. These recipients include clinics, schools/colleges/universities, job skills training programs, and social service organizations. With a particular focus on supporting underserved communities, many of our partners are in low-income areas of Louisville and rural counties throughout the state.
Healthcare & Social Service
Healthcare: Elevating and equalizing the standard of quality medical for all residents of our communities is a key focus area for the SOS Local Health Program. One of the major obstacles for medical clinics and social service agencies serving low-to-no income and under/uninsured residents is the financial burden on the clinic/agency to serve residents in need. By supporting these vital agencies and clinics with substantial donations of critically needed medical supplies, equipment and other health resources they need to serve their constituents and patients, SOS is preserving the partners’ financial resources to be put to use in other areas of impact.
Improving the well-being of at-risk mothers, infants and children will determine the health of the entire community’s current and next generations, projecting future public health successes for families, communities and the healthcare system in general. Collaborating with healthcare partners to improve the health of the aging population will directly improve healthcare outcomes, lowering medical costs and undue burdens on the healthcare system. Proactively providing hygiene kits and blankets to homeless residents (and those living in temporary unstable conditions) will help keep them, many of whom are families, safe as they find their way to more permanent and sustainable conditions.
Education and Training
SOS Local Health Program provides medical supply and equipment donations to a network of partner schools – universities, high school career track academies, job-skills training technical schools and specialized programs offering certificate-specific training – all producing graduates in the healthcare field. These resources donated by SOS allow the educator to offer an enhanced and elevated experiential learning setting with hands-on learning tools for every student. Our partners tell us that this results in a better experienced graduate, and a better trained and more employable healthcare worker upon graduation. By providing medical supplies for the classrooms, nursing students graduate more competent and confident in their abilities. Furthermore, by educating future healthcare workers to pay attention to the medical surplus created and the medical need globally, SOS instills a passion for sustainability and service in students who are tomorrow’s leaders.
Animal Welfare Initiative
Some supplies at SOS can no longer be safely used on humans but are suitable for veterinarians, animal shelters and animal hospitals in our region. SOS partners with Louisville Metro Animal Services and the Kentucky Humane Society, as well as similar organizations regionally, to provide expired medical supplies that can be used to provide care to animals we love.