One weekday afternoon in Decatur, volunteers sort gauze, seal the seams of boxes with packing tape, and mark labels for future recipients who most likely live thousands of miles away. Inside these boxes are medical supplies waiting to be shipped.
These volunteers work at MedShare-- a nonprofit that recovers and distributes surplus medical supplies and equipment to countries in need.
Alvaro McRae, MedShare's volunteer coordinator, shares the disturbing and painful story of a young boy in his home country of Nicaragua.
"There was this boy who…he had a lot of sores on his hands and on his feet but they got so bad that he couldn't walk anymore."
Stories like that little boy’s are what led to the creation of MedShare, and they’re the force that drives Alvaro and his team of volunteers.
"We had people (visit) after the earthquake in Haiti. That was very moving because everyone saw the pictures of the earthquake in Haiti and these materials were going to help people," said Marianne Deehan, one of many retired Emory Healthcare professionals who volunteer on a regular basis.
"And they were desperate for supplies," Julianne Daffin, her co-volunteer chimed in.
"Yeah they were desperate for supplies," said Marianne.
There are plenty of nonprofit programs seeking volunteer assistance, but both the volunteers and staff members at MedShare say they're drawn to the organization because they feel their efforts more directly and positively impact the lives of people in need.
"We feel compelled to come here really, “ said Daffin. “ It's a driving force.”