Supplies Over Seas (SOS) was founded in 1993 by Dr. Norton Waterman and members of the Greater Louisville Medical Society (GLMS) as a response to the waste created by Louisville’s medical system.
According to Dr. Waterman, “Perfectly good bandages, cloth operating gowns, towels and sutures were being thrown out. Good instruments were discarded because of recent improvements, regulations or changes in popularity.”
Since 1993, Supplies Over Seas has saved more than 1.5 million pounds of medical supplies and equipment from landfills, and delivered health and hope to medically impoverished communities in 91 countries, including the United States.
For most of its history, Supplies Over Seas operated as a program of the Greater Louisville Medical Society Foundation. However, in 2010 SOS became an independent nonprofit — representing a major inflection point for the organization.
Since 2010, SOS’s ability to positively impact the environment while improving global health has grown precipitously: we are extending our reach across Kentucky and into neighboring states; We are building long-term relationships in countries like Ghana, Ecuador, Kenya, and the Phillipines; and with each quarter we are able to grow the quantity of medical supplies and equipment that we save from landfills.
SOS’s history is the story of how one physician’s vision put into action managed to save HUNDREDS of TONS of usable materials from landfills while delivering health and hope to a myriad of communities in great need of both.
Moving forward, we hope to continue to grow our impact. SOS’s future is about all of us working together to create a healthier planet and a healthier world.
SOS meets critical health care needs in developing countries around the world by recovering and redistributing surplus medical supplies and equipment. SOS promotes environmental stewardship, partnering with hospitals and other organizations to recover and send what would otherwise go to a landfill.
To become a first class regional medical surplus recovery organization, promoting global health, environmental stewardship and community awareness. SOS will do this through the efficient recovery, processing and responsible redistribution of medical supplies and equipment to improve healthcare for the poor and underserved worldwide.
SOS relies on the generosity of donors, volunteers, and friends; it receives no government funding, and accomplishes its big mission with a very small staff. SOS directly benefits underserved peoples living in medically impoverished communities at home and abroad by delivering necessary medical supplies and equipment to health clinics, hospitals, and other institutions. 95% of the donated materials SOS receives are donated, repurposed, or recycled. SOS supplies match surplus with need, connecting communities, and delivering a world of health and hope.