Posts Tagged ‘mercyships.org’

Mercy Ships

You’ve undoubtedly been inundated with the news, images, and fundraising pleas swirling around the most powerful earthquake to hit Haiti in 200 years. Airlines are flying relief workers for free, UPS is shipping packages for discounted rates, and dozens of aid organizations in Haiti and internationally have mobilized (as have the governments of many nations). It is an international effort.

One of the things most needed has been medical care and facilities. One of capital city Port-au-Prince’s main hospitals is a total loss, and many other structures, even if still standing, are unsafe. An “inflatable” hospital is being set up, and the Mercy Ships floating hospital was deployed quickly.

“We were in contact with our partners on the ground in Haiti within 2 hours after the earthquake had occurred. Our Disaster Relief Mercy Team’s response is mobilizing to address both medical and non-medical relief,” says Sam Smith, CEO of Mercy Ships. “We have trained personnel and the systems in place to mobilize in these situations.”

Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care services to those without access in the developing world. Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries, impacting more than 2.16 million direct beneficiaries. More than 1,200 crew worldwide, representing more than 40 nations, are joined each year by 2,000 short-term volunteers. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, health care trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. In less traumatic times, they are a great organization with which to volunteer–at this time, their greatest need is financial support. You’ve perhaps already donated to one or more organizations via text message, online, or over the phone (be careful of scams, especially if someone cold calls you from a group you never supported before and wouldn’t logically be on their “call list.”)

Think about giving more–this won’t go away any time soon. There is so much work to be done–and it is heartening to see so many, from around the world, dedicated to doing it.

UPDATE: AIRLINES NOT DOING FREE FLIGHTS AND UPS NOT SHIPPING LARGE AMOUNTS OF PACKAGES–INFRASTRUCTURE NOT YET IN PLACE–CNN EXPOSED A “TWITTER HOAX” IMPLYING SERVICES THAT ARE NOT IN PLACE. AMERICAN AIRLINES IS FLYING SUPPLIES AND UPS DONATED $1 MILLION…

Smile/Susan Dey

When I was fresh out of college and living on my own, I had, every year, a Happy Birthday Susan Dey party. I had been obsessed, years earlier, with Dey’s character, Laurie, on The Partridge Family. Since I had, and played until it was deeply grooved, my Partridge Family Up to Date album…I knew the actress’ birthday was December 10. The cover of that album, similar to the band’s TV bus, was a highly colorful pastiche of geometric shapes with the birthdays of the cast members, even Tiger the dog, proudly printed. Since my birthday was a day later, it allowed me to throw a birthday party, actually for myself, without having to tell anyone it was secretly about me.

Probably the best-remembered Laurie-centric Partridge Family episode was when Laurie had to get braces on her teeth (and was tuning in radio waves in her head), and like so many of the teen and ‘tween audience, was far to embarrassed to smile.

OK–hold on tight–sharp turn ahead…how’s THAT for an over-the-river-and-through-the-woods way to get to the topic of volunteer charitable organizations dedicated to dentistry and making kids smile? The following programs, both international and domestic, need volunteers to keep their important oral health programs going. Some require volunteers who are licensed dentists or dental techs, but many also have travel and volunteer opportunities for non-professional volunteers. All it takes is a big, open heart.

Mercy Ships (www.mercyships.org, doing cleft palate surgeries in Africa)

Center for Cultural Interchange (www.cci-exchange.com, youth dental clinics in Argentina)

Amazon-Africa Aid (www.amazonafrica.org, volunteer dental clinics in Brazil)

Crisis UK (www.crisis.org.uk, dental care for homeless in and around London)

Dental Volunteers for Israel (http://dvi.pionetsv.co.il, children’s dentistry in Jerusalem)

Himalayan Dental Relief Project (www.himalayandental.com, oral health in Nepal)

Health Volunteers Overseas (www.hvousa.org, dental camps in many areas, including volunteer programs in Tanzania)

International Smile Power (www.smilepower.org, dental clinics in small villages through developing nations)

East Meets West Foundation (www.eastmeetswest.org, dental outreach in Vietnam)

Operation Smile (www.operationsmile.org, cleft palate and facial deformity correction surgeries through developing nations)