Watch the video about the history of Gloves Go Global and our project in Costa Rica which was shown at the 2013 Fundraiser in St. Louis.
Gloves go Global grew out of an ingrained dedication to service. We are fortunate to have the legacy of helping those in need, modeled by our grandfather, Everett D. Sugarbaker, M.D., a surgical oncologist who dedicated his life to treating those who could not gain access to necessary medical treatments. While working at the Sugarbaker Memorial Clinic in Nyeri, Kenya, Hannah and Geneva noticed a need for examination gloves. Many of the hospitals and clinics in the region simply did not have access to these necessary resources. According the World Alliance for Patient Safety informational resources, “It is widely recommended that health-care workers (HCWs) wear gloves for two main reasons: to prevent microorganisms which may be infecting, communally carried by, or transiently present on HCWs’ hands from being transmitted to patients and from one patient to another; and to reduce the risk of HCWs themselves acquiring infections from patients.” We began brainstorming how they could possibly gather enough gloves to make a difference in Nyeri, in Kenya, in Africa, and eventually, globally.
While at Washington University in Saint Louis, Geneva noticed a surplus of laboratory gloves at the end of each semester. Each laboratory student is responsible for supplying his/her/ze own box of gloves and many of these students do not have an immediate, foreseeable use for the remaining, unused gloves at the end of the semester. We began placing collection boxes in the hallways at the end of the semester. We gathered and sorted the gloves by size and material (latex/non-latex, powdered, etc.) and repackaged them for redistribution. Initially, these gloves were packaged into checked baggage, and distributed to clinics and hospitals near The Sugarbaker Memorial Clinic in Nyeri.
A Great Partnership
However, in order to make a greater impact we wanted to partner with more healthcare facilities and needed an affordable way to transport gloves. In 2010, we partnered with Wings of Hope, a humanitarian aviation organization based out of Spirit of Saint Louis Airport. Wings of Hope is a non-sectarian, non-racial, non-political 501(c)3 currently delivering medical supplies and care to over 40 countries. Gloves go Global delivered its first shipments of a few hundred boxes of gloves through Wings of Hope to Haiti, Belize and Ecuador in 2011.
public charity status
As the quantity of donated gloves increased, Hannah and Geneva realized they would need additional resources in order to expand Gloves go Global’s effectiveness. Hannah saw the need to legitimize the home-grown gloves project into a 501(c)3 tax-exempt identity, whereby allowing charitable donations to fund the growth of Gloves go Global. She became versed in the legal side of non-profit management. She filled out stacks of paperwork, wrote proposals, registered a bank account, designed a website, and certified the organization with the IRS. In 2014 Gloves Go Global was officially granted public charity status. We are currently working to create sustainable relationships with clinics and empower young people in the US who are passionate about healthcare to take action and help make a difference. We are always open to new ideas and partnerships.