More than 100 boxes of medical supplies are making their way to citizens of Ukraine thanks to the efforts of Helping Hand Clinic in Sanford.
Helping Hand Clinic, located on the first floor of the Mann Center at 507 North Steele St., is a group of health professionals who provide medically uninsured, low-income clients with quality medical dental, vision and mental health, medications and medical supplies free of charge to Lee County residents. The organization also regularly receives donated medical supplies, many of which had gone unused for several months and were limiting storage space.
While seeking an organization in need of supplies, Eileen Sikinger, RN/outreach coordinator for the clinic, discovered Ukrainians of the Carolinas, a Raleigh-based group founded in 2014 but growing considerably since Russia’s recent invasion of the country. Medical supplies are among the most — if not the most — needed forms of aid in the country as more than 7,000 civilians have been killed (according to Ukrainian government officials) and thousands more wounded since March 25.
And for those not on the casualty list, basic medical supplies are in high demand.
Sikinger coordinated with Olena Kozlova-Pates, who is Ukrainian, to come up with a list of supplies needed in the country, and the clinic staff went to work. Those supplies — 113 boxes in all — were loaded into a truck on Friday and sent to the organization, which operates from the North Raleigh Church of Christ. Supplies included trach equipment, leg prosthetics and sleeves, tube feeding supplies and isolation gowns.
According to a recent CBS17 report, supplies sent through the organization are being used in hospitals along the frontlines in the country.
“Our first priority is, of course, the residents of Lee County, but sometimes we receive specialty items that are not in high demand and end up on our shelves for many months to years,” Sikinger said. “The group was so appreciative, and they gave us a Ukrainian egg as a ‘thank you.’”
According to Kozlova-Pates, Beast Philanthropy, a philanthropic group located in North Carolina, handles the logistics of all supplies sent, and Flexport ships the boxes to Poland. They are then driven to the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv, where a mobile medical organization distributes them.
“Some supplies will be taken to the front line immediately, as there is a huge need to save lives of civilians and military,” Kozlova-Pates wrote. “And some will be taken to various hospitals throughout Ukraine, as many civilian hospitals have turned into war time care providers. Some hospitals also house and treat refugees.”
As for the prosthetics, Ukrainians of the Carolinas have helped soldiers and civilians who have lost limbs due to war for the last eight years.
“As you can imagine, now the need is much greater,” Kozlova-Pates wrote. “I told my prosthetics partner about the [Sanford] donation, and she was very excited.”
Helping Hand Clinic is run by Executive Director Franceine Atiebrah, pharmacist Dalia Guadamuz, pharmacy tech Jahoska Treminio, patient coordinator Jan Ray, administrative assistant Angela Hamilton and Sikinger, the RN/outreach coordinator. The clinic has a nurse practitioner, seven physicians and phlebotomists who volunteer multiple times a year.