Sacred Valley Health, which operates under the name “Ayni Wasi” in Peru, has friends in all places, and we love hearing stories of giving back. One of our past student volunteers, Tony Vasile, recently organized a donation drive in his hometown. The drive helped bring in many first-aid kit materials, such as Neosporin, gauze, medical tape, and gloves, which are used to stock community health workers’ first aid kits. We asked Tony about his goals for the drive and how his planning process went.
- Tell us about yourself!
I am a Junior is SUNY Brockport’s Exercise Science program, hoping to eventually become a physical therapist. I’m 21 years old.
- What inspired you to organize a donation drive?
I took this picture during our campaign in Huilloc. So many of the kids were excited and fascinated with things as simple as a new toothbrush. Knowing that bringing that level of joy to these kids was so simple was one of the things that inspired me. The fact that all of these lessons may also help them live longer, healthier lives was just icing on the cake.
- How did you organize the drive?
I got in contact with my local church to see if they would be interested in hosting the drive and putting a notice in their newsletter. When I showed them some pictures and talked about what Ayni Wasi did, the board approved the drive instantly. I gave a short speech during mass one week, and the church secretary put together a collection area. A local newspaper also heard about what we were doing and asked to do a short story on the drive, too. Once the word got out, everything else kind of fell into place.
- What techniques did you find most effective in receiving donations?
I think the most effective way was just through reaching out in my community. By reaching out to my church, it created a snowball effect. I was able to spread the word in Mass, which caught the attention of a journalist for the local paper, which obviously spread the word and brought in a lot of supplies. The Women’s Fellowship of the church decided to buy some materials from one of our local pharmacies, Sinclair Pharmacy, and when the main pharmacist caught wind of what we were doing, he decided to donate an entire case of Neosporin. Once the people in my community heard what Ayni Wasi is about and saw some pictures, they really jumped behind the cause.
- Suggestions or words of wisdom for other people wanting to organize a drive?
It is a lot easier than you may think! If you put the idea out there, it can really go a long way. Reaching out to a local church, synagogue, or other religious center, despite your beliefs, will do a lot. Many hospitals or medical centers have departments that handle donating to causes like Ayni Wasi’s. And if you can get enough people to donate one or two things, the numbers really start to add up after a while.