NCCC nursing school donates medical supplies to Mission of Hope

North Country Community College nursing students, from left, Megan Davis of Saranac Lake, Emily Sorensen of Richmond, Virginia, and Adriania Fanelli of Morristown and their clinical instructor Lori Bennett drop off medical supplies for the North Country Mission of Hope at Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake with Jerry Stewart, a rehabilitation technician with Adirondack Health. (Photo provided by North Country Community College)

SARANAC LAKE — North Country Community College has donated boxes of unused medical supplies and equipment from its nursing program to the North Country Mission of Hope.

Now in its 19th year, the Plattsburgh-based North Country Mission of Hope provides health care, community development, ecological sustainability and education programs to the people of Nicaragua.

Lori Bennett, a registered nurse and the NCCC nursing program’s clinical coordinator, spearheaded the donation of medical supplies after hearing about a Mission of Hope supply drive held Nov. 11 at Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.

“In our lab, we have a storage room in the nursing department, and we have all these supplies,” Bennett said. “We have things that have been given to us that we wouldn’t use or are expired: boxes of gauze, vials of sterile water, plus crutches and a commode. So I called the Mission of Hope, and they said they would take it all.”

A trio of students in the college’s licensed practical nursing program — Adriania Fanelli of Morristown, Megan Davis of Saranac Lake and Emily Sorensen of Richmond, Virginia — dropped off several boxes of supplies and a car load of equipment at the Saranac Lake hospital.

“These are things we might take for granted but people in Third World countries can really use,” Fanelli said. “And we’re spreading education, too, so these people can lead healthier lives.”

“If we have more and they have less, let’s balance out,” Sorensen said.

Jerry Stewart, a rehabilitation technician with Adirondack Health, coordinated the hospital’s supply drive for the second year in a row.

“It originally started when we needed a place to recycle crutches,” he said. “I found Mission of Hope and they would take the crutches, but they also said they could use much more, so we came together on the mission drive.”

The second year of the supply drive was even better than the first, Stewart said. He attributed that to the damage Nicaragua sustained in October due to Tropical Storm Nate.

“The response this year has been amazing,” he said. “My shed is full. My van is full. My storage room is full. It would be a shame to just throw all these things out when others can use them. And it’s such a good cause.”

“I’d like to express our heartfelt gratitude,” said Sister Debbie Blow, executive director of the North Country Mission of Hope. “This joint endeavor is one more example of how ‘hearts and hands working together’ can improve lives, as our mission states.”

Last year, the North Country Mission of Hope shipped seven containers of medical equipment, education supplies and food valued at over $500,000 to Nicaragua. Its food and nutrition programs fed more than 6,500 children in 23 poor schools in 13 different barrios. It sponsored more than 850 children in its education and orphan support programs.