Some people collect stamps, others collect coins or sports memorabilia. No one ever sets out to collect ostomy supplies, yet many patients often find that they have developed one after a period of time. Whether by switching products, getting free samples or no longer needing them after a successful colostomy reversal, it is quite easy to stockpile ostomy supplies that will never get used. Rather than throwing them away or having them collect dust in a box, donating your unused colostomy supplies is a win-win situation for all involved. Not only can you clear some space and clutter , but you can feel good that you are able to help others in desperate need.
Some things to keep in mind before donating;
- Make sure your supplies are not past their expiration date. Organizations that ship overseas are not allowed by customs to ship expired products. Also make sure you read their websites for products that they desperately need and those which they cannot accept (aerosols, liquids etc.)
- Only clean, unopened and unused products should be donated.
- You will more than likely have to pay shipping costs if you decide to donate to an out of town charity.
Where To Donate?
If you wish to donate, you may have several options available to you depending on where you live. You can donate locally or you may choose to help organizations that collect supplies to ship to underdeveloped countries around the world where adequate medical and ostomy care may be lacking or non-existent.
If you live in an area that has an active ostomy association, see if they accept donations of supplies. If you are under the care of an ostomy nurse you may also ask them if they could use any extra supplies. Often times they have patients that could make use of them, or know other nurses or organizations that may need them. You could also check with your local hospital and see if they may have a need for extra ostomy supplies.
To help those outside of your area in your country or in other countries, you can ship your items to dedicated charitable organizations.
Friends of Ostomates Worldwide – USA – “The Friends of Ostomates Worldwide-USA is a volunteer-run, non-profit organization providing ostomy supplies and educational materials to ostomates in need around the world.”
Osto Group – “Osto Group is a not-for-profit organization that receives donations of unused ostomy products from all over the country.” They help ostomates in the US that have little or no health insurance and cannot afford their ostomy supplies.
California – Sonora Ostomy Support Group : “We have a mission team that gladly accepts extra ostomy products for over seas missions.” (Phone#: 209-536-3283 Email: email@example.com)
OstomyAid – They collect supplies from all over the UK and ship them to countries in need.
These organizations also take cash donations as storing and shipping out large amounts of supplies can get quite costly. Giving back is not always easy or practical, but it is almost always worth it. Thousands of ostomates who would normally go without supplies can benefit from your unintended collection.
(If you are part of an organization or know of one that collects and distributes ostomy supplies to those in need, please contact us with your site details and we will add it to our list.)