Today’s blog comes from our Hotline Assistant, Ani who enjoys finding recycling resources for even the toughest items and providing those resources to residents across San Diego County. Over the last few months, Ani has developed a strong relationship with Laura Luxemburg, the founder of one of the most unique services in our database, SSubi is Hope. Read on to learn about how Laura and her team of volunteers work to provide medical supplies to those in need around the world.
The organization SSubi Is Hope collects surplus medical supplies and equipment that is in good condition from local hospitals, doctors’ offices, hospice care, as well as individual residents to help divert these materials from local landfills. The organization then sends these supplies to medical centers around the world that have limited access to these supplies. Right away I was intrigued by the organization’s mission and thought this was a great way to divert resources from landfills while helping others in need.
In just a short amount of time, the organization has received two awards from the City of San Diego, had a day named after the organization, and has diverted 800,000 lbs. of medical equipment and supplies that otherwise may have ended up in a landfill. Led by Laura Luxemburg, SSubi Is Hope receives medical items such as wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers and is completely volunteer-driven.
Recently, SSubi is Hope has also tacked on electronic waste to their services. The organization is accepting electronic waste from residents and businesses at no cost to offset the overhead costs and to continue collecting items from hospitals, doctors offices, home care/hospice patients. I met with Laura at the new SSubi Is Hope facility in Miramar to find out a bit more about the organization.
What is “SSubi is Hope” and what does the organization do? How did you get involved or interested in these types of issues?
“The organization is called SSubi is Hope; SSubi means “hope” in Luganda (major language in Uganda) and it started out when I just wanted to make a difference and let my kids know that you didn’t have to be a rock star or movie star to make a difference in this world, you can be a soccer mom. So it began when we started helping a medical center in Uganda and out of our need for medical supplies and equipment, I started wondering, “Where was our old stuff going?” So I started calling hospitals, talking to nurses and they said a lot of this stuff was ending in the landfills. They said no for a year and then right before Christmas 2013 I met up with Environmental Management System Coordinator, Jean Parkinson from the VA Hospital…the VA Hospital became the first hospital partner in March 7th, 2014. From there we have collected over 85,000 lbs of medical supplies and equipment and diverted it from the landfill.”
How fast has the organization expanded since it first started?
“Our goal originally was to send supplies to Uganda and spread out from there but also share with other countries and small organizations. Recently, we have partnered with ALS Association to help provide beds to their patients because the quality of the beds they get are very simple and they need something that is more advanced, so we are able to fill in that gap.”
How does this partnership with I Love A Clean San Diego benefit your organization?
“SSubi is very community-based; we can’t do this project without the community getting involved. We are very big on collaborations because together we are strong. People that are looking for volunteer experiences, have medical supplies, have a home care issue or know a doctor who can share this information with their facilities; let’s get together and make a difference.”
Lastly, how can community members help or get involved?
“We have a new space in Miramar and we are hoping that this is a good location for volunteers to come. There is a never ending supply of things to sort and separate so volunteer opportunities are going to be the longevity of this program.”