World Medical Relief: Provides Hope for the Sick and Underprivileged
What started as an inspiration to help one boy orphaned by the Korean War grew into a mission that continues today to aid thousands of sick and poor people in more than 140 developing nations. Founded in 1953 by Detroit homemaker Irene Auberlin, World Medical Relief (WMR) collects and distributes surplus medical equipment and supplies to the medically underserved, both locally and abroad.
In 1966, the organization started local programs to address community needs. Today, the Durable Medical Equipment Program provides low-income people with walkers, wheel chairs and other medical equipment. The Medical Supply Program offers basic home health care supplies to low-income individuals and provides medical supplies to local nonprofit agencies. The Prescription Program assists those that are not covered by insurance to receive medications, and the Blanket Program donates blankets and hygiene kits to homeless shelters during the winter months.
The nonprofit organization operates under the direction of its board members, a diverse group of qualified volunteers who meet regularly to discuss and vote on the critical issues that face the organization. The daily operations are monitored by President and CEO George V. Samson, who says the mission of the organization
is the same as it was when it was started 60 years ago: “To help our less fortunate brothers and sisters who are sick, poor and in this great need.”
Each year WMR sends millions of dollars worth of recycled hospital equipment and supplies around the world, equating to nearly $1 billion in medical equipment sent overseas in the past 60 years. Valuable and used equipment is collected from hospitals around the country and sent to the eight-story warehouse in Detroit where volunteers and staff inspect, clean and make ready the equipment for distribution to a needy hospital or clinic. Individuals or organizations can help make a difference to someone suffering from sickness and requiring medical attention by volunteering or sponsoring a shipment container of medical equipment. This is where funding is needed most to cover costs, including duties and expedition charges as well as preparation and handling of equipment, to reach its
final destination. Most of the day-today operations are paid from interest on endowments made by past patrons
World Medical Relief is located at 11745 Rosa Parks Blvd., in Detroit. For more information or to volunteer, call 313-866-5333 or visit WorldMedicalRelief.org.