Direct Relief International today announced it has committed $250,000 in special hurricane response funds to assist the medical “safety net” – nonprofit clinics, community health centers, and alternate care sites at evacuation and shelter areas – along the U.S. Gulf Coast in response to Hurricane Gustav, which is expected to make landfall Monday.
“We think it’s important to make these funds available so that safety-net clinics and community health centers can ramp up their operations,” said President and CEO Thomas Tighe. “These nonprofit facilities have no financial cushion to absorb an influx of patients or financial losses caused by emergencies like this; they may need to procure items locally that are needed immediately, pay for extra staff, or finance other short-term concerns.”
Direct Relief is coordinating with the National Association of Community Health Centers and State Primary Care Associations in the Gulf, as well as with individual clinics – all of which Direct Relief has worked with on an ongoing basis since Hurricane Katrina struck three years ago.
In addition to cash resources, Direct Relief has already placed medical material aid into the region. In July, the organization delivered 18 hurricane preparedness packs to locations along the Gulf Coast in advance of possible hurricanes in the late summer and early fall months, and Friday sent three additional shipments of medical supplies to alternate care sites in Louisiana operating at evacuation sites. Long-time corporate donors including Abbott, BD, CVS, Johnson & Johnson, Matrixx, and Miltex have given their product for use at these sites, and FedEx has generously donated transportation services.
Additional infusions of medical essentials will be provided as necessary to help meet demand. Direct Relief possesses about $60 million (wholesale) in standing medical material inventory at any given time at its headquarters in Santa Barbara, California that can be focused on helping the people of the Gulf Coast.
Members of the public wishing to support Direct Relief’s activities for Hurricane Gustav may donate to the Hurricane Preparedness & Response fund online at DirectRelief.org, by phone at 805-964-4767, or by mail at the address on the website. Every dollar donated to this fund is used exclusively for programs assisting healthcare for people affected by hurricanes, not for fundraising or administration.