In late November, Carolyn Pegg, a member of the Witness for Peace delegation, visited Mano a Mano for a tour of our St. Paul warehouse and an opportunity to purchase Bolivian crafts. At the time our medical supply and equipment processing and storage areas were bursting at the seams in preparation for filling three containers destined for Bolivia.

Carolyn approached us with a question. “Would it be possible for Mano a Mano to share a few walkers and canes, and perhaps some medical supplies, that we could hand carry with us on our flight to Cuba in December?” Our response, “We are always happy to share a portion of what we have with others who need and can make use of these donations.” The group selected requested items to pack in their luggage and mobility aids that members could carry onto the plane.

Local Witness for Peace delegation destined for Cuba with supplies and equipment donated by Mano a Mano

We received this report from them last week: “The Witness for Peace delegation arrived in Cuba with about 125 pounds of medical supplies. Mano a Mano generously donated surgical kits, blood pressure cuffs, gloves, a multitude of bandages, sterilized gauze pads and tape, COVID kits, dental supplies, over the counter drugs, and so much more!”

Distribution of mobility aids in Cuba

“We turned the donations over to the Martin Luther King Center in Havana, and they will distribute the materials to clinics in Havana and other provinces. One of the blood pressure cuffs was given to a neighborhood Senior Center in Havana. They appreciate your gift. On behalf of the people of Cuba, the Cuba delegation, and Witness for Peace we express our gratitude!” – Lyn

Witness for Peace group in Cuba

Why We Collect Medical Supplies in Minnesota

We started in 1994 with the goal of saving surplus medical supplies from the landfill in Minnesota and shipping them to Bolivia, where we knew these supplies were desperately needed and could be used immediately. We have grown as an organization since then, but putting usable supplies to good use rather than ending up in the local waste stream is still an important component of our mission, and the supplies support our many programs in Bolivia.

Distributing Medical Supplies and Equipment in the Twin Cities and to Organizations Working Around the World

While the primary mission of our surplus distribution program is to provide supplies for Bolivia, we have also expanded this program since 2020 to distribute durable medical equipment to individuals in need in the Twin Cities, and to provide supplies for other nonprofits working in other countries. We are happy to partner with other organizations when we have excess supplies, items that we cannot send to Bolivia, or items that are not the highest priority for our programs. Ultimately, we want to keep these supplies out of the landfill in Minnesota, and get them to people in need.

Supplies arriving in Danli, Honduras – one of many distributions that started at Mano a Mano’s warehouse in St. Paul, Minnesota

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