N.J. hospitals send badly needed medical supplies to Ukraine

The New Jersey Hospital Association and the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America are coordinating efforts to send medication, supplies and equipment to Ukraine as the humanitarian crisis grows in the war-torn nation.

First lady Tammy Murphy joined with the two groups on Wednesday at the Meest-America warehouse in Port Reading as supplies were prepared for shipment to Poland, which will serve as the staging point to distribute the donations to affected areas across Ukraine.

“Throughout the pandemic, we saw communities across New Jersey joining together to ensure everyone had the needed resources — and that spirit did not waver once. Now, we see the same supportive spirit on display front and center for the brave Ukrainians fighting to save their country,” Murphy said. “These critical medical supplies will undoubtedly save lives and aid Ukrainians in their fight against Vladimir Putin.”

How you can help

The New Jersey Hospital Association and Meest-America are not accepting physical donations at this time (simply put, they already are overwhelmed). If you want to make a financial contribution to help defray the cost of shipping, you can do so here.

New Jersey hospitals are sending more than 250 pallets of medical supplies and equipment and 40,000 doses of medications to Ukraine. The initial shipment includes trauma supplies like tourniquets and bandages; surgical items including sutures and scalpels; IV supplies; needles and syringes; stethoscopes; catheters; tracheotomy kits; sterile drapes and bedding; disinfectants; COVID-19 test kits and personal protective equipment. The donated items also include antibiotics and other medications; and medical equipment including ventilators, oxygen concentrators and defibrillators.

“It’s impossible to be unmoved by the horrific images of patients, including expectant mothers and young children, being evacuated from bombed-out hospitals,” NJHA CEO and President Cathy Bennett said. “In times like these, we are all one community of caregivers committed to doing what we can to help save lives.”

The Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, based in New York City, was founded in 1925 and has supported Ukraine’s civilian and military hospitals since 2014.

“We’re receiving a steady stream of calls for help from Ukraine medical providers as the situation on the ground grows increasingly desperate,” President Natalie Pawlenko said. “It is, quite literally, a matter of life and death, and we’re so grateful for the generosity of New Jersey hospitals. Port Reading-based Meest-America, a freight delivery service that frequently ships goods to eastern European nations, is coordinating the packing and shipping of the hospitals’ donations. Many of its employees hail from Ukraine.

“We’ve transitioned to a near 24/7 operation to ensure these donations arrive quickly and safely,” Chief Operating Officer Natalia Brandafi said. “In such a tragic time, it’s inspiring to see the generosity of New Jersey hospitals and other organizations to support the Ukrainian people.”

The initial collection of medical aid will be shipped next week, with additional donations still coming in from NJHA members.