Shortly after COVID-19 was identified in China in December of 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) commissioned healthcare experts from Heart to Heart International (HHI) to travel to the Marshall Islands to help under-resourced areas prepare for this new virus. By the time COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic in March, it was clear the impact of the virus was much greater than initially anticipated, and HHI launched a multipronged approach to address the myriad challenges of responding to COVID-19.
Direct Patient Care:
HHI deployed medical and health care volunteers to COVID-19 hotspots throughout the United States to relieve overworked doctors and nurses. In partnership with International Medical Corps, volunteer doctors and nurses headed to New York and Chicago to assist with staff shortages.
HHI partnered with Hope Faith Homeless Assistance Campus to provide free medical care to more than 600 homeless patients, including providing COVID-19 testing. HHI volunteers have dedicated more than 1,200 hours to provide care at the Hope Faith Medical Clinic, which has helped prevent trips to the emergency room and prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
HHI has delivered 593 shipments (1.1 million pieces) of PPE to 38 states, 1 U.S. territory and 5 countries. The n95 masks, patient masks, face shields, gowns, sanitizer, and gloves that were included in these shipments are being used by frontline healthcare workers at hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and more.
Good hygiene is critical to infection prevention and control of COVID-19, especially in vulnerable communities. HHI has delivered more than 73,000 kits of hygiene supplies to 84 partners (food banks, homeless groups, nursing homes, public safety organizations, schools and more) in 26 states, including the 10 states hardest hit by COVID-19. (Total value of hygiene kits and PPE shipped = $1.7 million.)
Haiti – HHI helped train vendors in Haiti’s large, crowded open air markets on infection prevention. Workers were deployed to educate the public on hygiene practices, detection of COVID-19 and medical follow-up. HHI also established hand-washing stations throughout the markets and has been improving sanitation and water quality to prevent the spread of infectious diseases in rural communities.
Testing and Training:
Through a partnership with University of Kansas Medical Center and the CDC Foundation, HHI has been providing free COVID-19 testing to asymptomatic essential workers in vulnerable communities. Individuals have been tested at community partner locations to best accommodate the convenience and trust of the populations. Providing accessible testing ensures populations that would not have been tested can contain the spread of the virus.
HHI developed an Infection Prevention and Control online training program for businesses, nonprofits and healthcare organizations. The program was designed by HHI’s physicians, infectious disease experts and healthcare specialists and has empowered 114 organizations, serving more than 800,000 beneficiaries, to implement changes in their procedures and reopen their businesses safely.
The COVID-19 crisis affects all communities. HHI has been at the forefront of the fight against the virus by engaging volunteers, collaborating with partners, and deploying resources to strengthen communities through improving health access and providing crisis relief at the international, national, and local level.
Heart to Heart International
Logo of Heart to Heart International
Heart to Heart International is a global humanitarian organization based in Lenexa which works to improve health and to respond to the needs of disaster victims worldwide.
Heart to Heart International was founded in 1992 by Dr. Gary Morsch and other Rotary Club members who delivered medication to victims of Chernobyl disaster in Russia. In 27 years, it has shipped over $1.7 billion in humanitarian aid to more than 130 countries. A large focus of HHI's mission is disaster response, and HHI has been a first responder to disasters all over the world. Heart to Heart International's headquarters is located in Lenexa, Kansas.
In 2016, Heart to Heart created the PowrServ division, which hosts corporate team building events.
Heart to Heart currently has teams deployed in Cyprus and Jordan that are handing out water-purification tablets and medical aid supplies to refugee camps.
When the 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Java, Heart to Heart mobilized its network to reach out to those in Yogyakarta and Bantul. Not only are water and medical supplies being passed out to those in need, but intermediate general hygiene and healthcare is being offered. Several airlifts have been delivered to the region, and aid will continue to come in as the quality of life improves.
When Hurricane Katrina hit, Heart to Heart was one of the first humanitarian organizations to be down in the Gulf Coast. For several weeks and months after the hurricane hit, free medical clinics were operated throughout the region. At the local clinics, there continues to be around 100 people served a day.
Heart to Heart International recently purchased a prototype, state-of-the-art mobile medical clinic, fully furnished to expand into a modern medical clinic on wheels. As soon as the fabrication for the mobile medical clinic was finished, it was sent down to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina. It continues to serve there to this day.
When the 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck the province of Sichuan, China, Heart to Heart was one of the first foreign NGOs to respond. An emergency operations command center was set up in the provincial capital of Chengdu and has been the heart of relief efforts in the affected areas. The main goal of Heart to Heart during this time is finding and filling needs in a way that opens doors for long-term cooperative engagement leading to rebuilding lives and communities. After initial efforts of search and rescue and general medical relief, Heart to Heart has begun to look to the long-term task of rebuilding the area around Chengdu.
On October 25, 2005, Heart to Heart International in a partnership with Physicians with Heart Airlifts delivered over $8 million worth of medical supplies.
During the month of October, 2002, Heart to Heart International partnered again with Physicians with Heart Airlifts to airlift around $10 million worth of pharmaceuticals to hospitals in need. After the airlift was completed, there was a commemoration service for the work that had been accomplished in this country.
LENEXA, KS 66285-5566 | Tax-exempt since July 1993
Classification (NTEE) International Relief (International, Foreign Affairs and National Security)
Nonprofit Tax Code Designation: 501(c)(3) Defined as: Organizations for any of the following purposes: religious, educational, charitable, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition (as long as it doesn’t provide athletic facilities or equipment), or the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.
Donations to this organization are tax deductible.