Baylor Scott & White Health sends vital supplies to Ukraine-Poland border

Baylor Scott and White extends its aid to Ukraine. Photo courtesy of Baylor Scott and White

By Luke Araujo | Staff Writer

Baylor Scott & White Health’s Faith in Action Initiatives is accepting the aid of nonprofits and donations in sending medical supplies to Ukraine.

Faith in Action is the humanitarian aid and medical admissions arm for Baylor Scott & White Health. According to the Baylor Scott & White Health website, Faith in Action Initiatives was started “to maximize its [Baylor Scott & White] impact locally and worldwide.”

Matthew Hoffman, director of Faith in Action Initiatives, said the initiative ships out at least one to three 40-foot shipping containers with medical supplies to humanitarian aid all over the world. These shipments include gauze, bandaging, sutures and other basic wound care supplies, as well as masks, gloves, isolation gowns and surgical packs.

“We have shipped out four different shipments already,” Hoffman said. “Those shipments are going primarily by air freight into Poland. Our international partners are then able to take those and bring them into the places where they are needed to different cities within Ukraine, Poland and Hungary. We are also in the process of compiling a much larger shipment that will be going out this next week.”

According to Hoffman, these shipments to Ukraine have been and will continue to be an ongoing effort.

“We have been shipping into Ukraine for the last four years,” Hoffman said. “We have some established international partnerships there. Even when there was concern about a potential invasion, we began to reach out to our international partners to see how we could come alongside them. They were also reaching out to us.”

Faith in Action Initiatives has been shipping supplies to Ukraine as far back as November 2021.

“When the invasion happened, we were immediately in conversations and Zoom calls with our international partners there [Ukraine],” Hoffman said. “We began the process to find out what their needs are and what their anticipated needs are and also to find out how we could come alongside them in that.”

To ease the shipment of medical supplies to Ukraine, Faith in Action Initiatives is working in partnership with the World Baptist Alliance. This is a partnership that has been ongoing for several years, according to Merritt Johnston, director of communications and media for the Baptist World Alliance.

Faith in Action Initiatives and the Baptist World Alliance work together through a forum called the Baptist World Alliance Forum for Aid and Development.

“The idea was to be able to mobilize a network of aid and relief agencies and ministries around the world to be able to pull resources and work collaboratively,” Johnston said. “This was especially important for instances of global need, like we are experiencing right now with the crisis in Eastern Europe.”

Hoffman said Faith in Action Initiatives has been in constant talks with Ukrainian contacts via email and Zoom.

“One of the major needs has been in the area of medical supplies,” Hoffman said. “They need basic wound care supplies, and those who have been displaced are now coming out of the country to seek shelter in other places. It has been around that sense of basic wound care, bandaging and gauze. That is what we have been actively collecting and shipping out.”

The organization is receiving supplies such as gauze and bandages at its Second Life Resource Center in Waco. As words have spread concerning Faith in Action Initiatives’ efforts, Hoffman said there has been an outpouring of local and national support.

“If you want to help, there are ways to do that through the simple process of, ‘Let’s go purchase some of these items and bring them over to the Second Life Resource Center,’” Hoffman said. “And we will get those things shipped out.”

To volunteer for supply runs, call 254-202-1280. Those looking to give financial support to ongoing Faith in Action Initiatives can contact Baylor Scott & White Health Central Texas Foundation at 254-724-1791 or visit the system’s donation page.