Our recovered resources program – saving usable supplies from the landfill in Minnesota to distribute to people in need in Bolivia – is keeping busy! Check out a few of our recent activities at our St. Paul, Minnesota and Cochabamba, Bolivia warehouses over the past week below.

Also: in response to current data and Minnesota Department of Health recommendations, we are asking anyone entering the Mano a Mano building to wear a mask, even if fully vaccinated.

Durable Medical Equipment Giveaway on Saturday, August 14th

Mano a Mano has excess durable medical equipment that we are making available for individuals in the Twin Cities, for free, on Saturday, August 14th from 9am-11am. Please send specific requests to [email protected]; we will confirm whether we can fulfill your specific request. Recipients (client or provider picking up the equipment) must sign a liability waiver upon receipt. This project is a collaboration with Twin Cities-area physical therapists to help distribute mobility equipment to their clients that have difficulty acquiring needed items; we have consistently done similar giveaways every other Saturday over the past few months. Moving forward, we are planning to have equipment giveaways once a month. We will share each upcoming date as soon as it is confirmed.

  • WHEN: Saturday, August 14th from 9am-11am
  • WHERE: Mano a Mano International, 925 Pierce Butler Route, St. Paul, MN 55104 (outside in the parking lot, in COVID-safe conditions)
  • Equipment Readily Available: walkers, rollators, crutches, canes, raised toilet seats, commodes, shower chairs, tub benches, bed rails, glucometers
  • Specialized Equipment in Limited Supply: wheelchairs, beds, lifts

Providing Physical Therapy Supplies for Universidad de San Simon

The vast majority of the donated supplies and equipment we receive at our Minnesota warehouse (90%+) is shipped to Bolivia; we sent 7 containers with 175,777 pounds of supplies and equipment from Minnesota to Bolivia in 2020. In 2021, we have sent 121,995 pounds of supplies and equipment to date.

These supplies are distributed to people and organizations in need, like these physical therapy supplies for the sports department of the Universidad de San Simon in Cochabamba this week:

…and these supplies which are being prepared for an upcoming large distribution to 28 health centers:

But 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.

Mano a Mano volunteers loading supplies and equipment for Helping Hand for Relief and Development, August 2021. These supplies will go to will go to refugee camps in Jordan and also Palestine. We have a number of upcoming donations scheduled for organizations working in other countries, which we also did last year when we have excess supplies, items that we cannot send to Bolivia, or items that are not the highest priority for our own programs.

Making Layette Sets in Minnesota for Newborns in Bolivia

Mano a Mano volunteers put together layette sets for newborn babies in Bolivia.

Mano a Mano volunteers put together layette sets for newborn babies in Bolivia.

Mano a Mano staff and volunteers prepare these layette sets for distribution at our warehouse in Cochabamba, Bolivia – late July 2021.

Below is one example of how these layette sets are used in Bolivia. Earlier this year, a nurse approached Mano a Mano on behalf of a set of newborn triplets. Recognizing that the parents have minimal financial resources, the nurse asked if Mano a Mano could assist with layettes, anything that could help the family cope with the daunting responsibilities that face them. When Maria Blanca Velásquez returned with 3-4 layettes for each of the triplets, the nurse responded, “These babies had nothing. They will leave the hospital feeling like princes.”

CEFTE-Chapare Nursing Student Volunteers Sorting Supplies at our Warehouse in Cochabamba

Nursing students from CEFTE-Chapare take a break from their volunteer work with Mano a Mano, sorting supplies sent from Minnesota to prepare them for distribution throughout Bolivia. Medical professionals from Hospital Combase have also taken part in these volunteer sessions, here providing some guidance and training for the nursing student volunteers.

Exchanging Supplies with HERO Fargo

Thanks HERO Fargo for exchanging medical supplies with us this in late July 2021! We are grateful for the continued partnership that helps both of our organizations respond better to the needs of the people who benefit from these supplies.

Recovered Resources Program

Mano a Mano 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: building clinics, schools, water reservoirs, wells, water ponds, roads, and greenhouses in partnership with communities; providing emergency air transport; and providing health education and agricultural training programs, among other projects. But distributing medical supplies and equipment continues to be a critical component of our work.

Thank you to the many people in Minnesota and Bolivia that make this possible! Learn more about our Recovered Resources Program at the links below: