Medical supplies shipped to Haiti from Munster, Ind.

January 20, 2010 3:19:18 PM PST
An organization in the southwest suburbs that provides reliable healthcare to underprivileged countries is organizing a massive relief effort for victims of the Haitian earthquake. Friends of the Orphans, with the help of Children of Abraham in northwest Indiana, is sending millions of dollars worth of medical supplies and equipment to Haiti.

If you're wondering what you can do to help Haiti, take a look at what John Shattuck and his friends are up to. They've been helping people in the country for years and knew full well the true impact of the earthquake on the most vulnerable -- and how shattered every working thing really would be in its aftermath. So they're sending what their contacts are saying they need -- sure they can make a difference.

Shattuck catalogues bone screws to set crushed arms and legs, as well as other resources as far as the eye can see. A 40-foot shipping container will be packed with at least $1.5 million worth of orthopedic equipment and other medical supplies, and food and water for the people crowding St. Damien Hospital in Port-Au-Prince.

"Since we have a close network of people in Haiti that are already on the ground, you are not flying in blind," said Shattuck.

Shattuck will meet the shipment in the Dominican Republic after it leaves Illinois by rail on Saturday to Miami, then by water to him. He'll escort it all to Haiti, his fourth trip there in less than a year.

St. Damien's had just gotten people back into its hospital when Wednesday morning's aftershocks struck. Now they're back being treated outside.

"That was devastating, but once the earthquake happened you just have to focus on the task at hand, and that is doing what you do best, and that is getting the equipment down," said Shattuck.

Shattuck is working with Friends of Abraham, a multi-faith medical delivery charity that knows how to gather things.

"We will be collecting for a future shipment, collecting more food, water. We'll be collecting tools that will be used in the country, tents to house the people, and we will also be sending more beds and mattresses," said Champ Merrick, Children of Abraham, Inc.

It's all in service of Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos, a charity Shattuck got to know through his church as he tried to make sense of his then 2-year-old son's fight with leukemia.

"From that, I saw the good works of the good people locally that were helping out, and it just developed into knowing I could do more," said Shattuck. "When you believe that things are really bad for yourself, when you see what others don't have, it puts things into perspective."

All of what Shattuck and the Children of Abraham is sending is based on what people at the hospital in Haiti have told them they need. They have the paperwork ready to move the shipment over land from the Dominican Republic to Haiti, and these items should be on helping earthquake victims by this time next week.

By the way, Shattuck's 2-year-old is now a 17-year-old who helps him with his charity work.