Medical relief group Global Links cuts ribbon on new facility in Green Tree
October 5, 2013 8:00 AM
Hayley Brugos, medical outreach manager for Global Links, shows off a new wheelchair repair room on a tour of the nonprofit's new facility in Green Tree on Friday.
By Torsten Ove Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Wielding surgical scissors as a symbol of its mission to distribute surplus medical equipment to poor countries, Global Links on Friday cut the ribbon on its new headquarters in Green Tree.
"We're open for business," co-founder Kathleen Hower told a crowd of politicians, volunteers and well-wishers.
The new facility more than doubles the nonprofit's ability to collect and refurbish medical supplies and provides much more space for volunteers.
The organization had previously operated out of two warehouses in Homewood and a cramped office in Garfield.
The new location on Trumbull Drive near the Parkway West consolidates everything in a 58,000-square-foot structure with plenty of natural light, a large warehouse, open areas to repair and package equipment and several loading docks.
There's also ample room for volunteers, a critical need since Global Links depends largely on their work; some 2,000 of them put in 10,000 hours last year.
"Volunteers are the lifeblood of any organization," Ms. Hower said. "Everything we've done has been geared toward accommodating the volunteers."
She said the new building will make Global Links more efficient than it had been.
Global Links was founded in 1989 as the first organization in the country to recover and reuse hospital supplies that otherwise would have ended up in a landfill.
Over the past 24 years, organizers say, they have prepared more than 480 tractor-trailer loads of equipment, ranging from large items like wheelchairs and exam tables to gloves, sutures and blood pressure cuffs.
Today, 36 regional hospitals participate in Global Links' recovery program, donating their outdated equipment rather than throwing it out.
Last year, 260 tons were collected. Most of the donations go to hospitals and clinics in Honduras, Haiti, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Guyana and Bolivia.