Effective June 1, we are thrilled to announce that David Cates, our founder and first Executive Director, will once again take the helm as our new Executive Director. Sarah Mulligan, who has been in that role for the past few years, has decided to step down to pursue some other interests—and find a little more time to be a mom. We are looking forward to this new chapter for MMA and, while there are certainly some challenges ahead as we make it through this pandemic, there is so much work to be done in Honduras. David is the perfect person to lead our staff and Board with tremendous vision and passion.
Note from David Cates, Executive Director
Twenty-two years ago a group of Missoula nurses read in the newspaper how Hurricane Mitch devastated Honduras, leaving thousands dead, hundreds of thousands of homeless, and uncountable survivors without any means of support. They wondered what they could do to help, and they started making phone calls to Honduras to learn how.
Since then--and because of the tremendous generosity our volunteers and supporters--we’ve collaborated with our partners at Save the Children, and with regional hospitals and rural health clinics to improve health and access to healthcare in the Honduran communities where we work. We’ve sent hundreds of healthcare workers and tens of thousands of dollars of medical supplies. We’ve sponsored community nutrition programs feeding thousands of children. We’ve educated nurses, and seeded rural pharmacies offering basic medicine at low prices. And we’ve helped dozens and dozens of small business and agricultural projects become thriving family and community enterprises.
But this year the Covid-19 pandemic walks hand in hand with hunger. So in recent months, our mission has become even more simple: We are currently directing our resources to help our partners distribute food, medicine, and cleaning supplies to hundreds of the most vulnerable families. And we are continuing to support agricultural projects that help farmers keep producing food.
June 2020: Pictured above are Doris Martinez, MMA Honduran Operations Manager and Braulio Medina, Save the Children-Honduras as part of an ongoing distribution of food to families in need during this COVID-19 pandemic. They and others helped to hand out 2 weeks’ worth of dry goods to over 600 families in rural areas surrounding La Esperanza, Intibucá Honduras that week.
Here in the States, Missoula Medical Aid is distributing our stockpiled medicines and health supplies to worthwhile non-profits such as the YWCA, Partnership for Children, Mountain Home Montana, and the Montana Migrant Council.
We want to recognize the decades-long support of our contributors and volunteers, and thank you for everything you’ve done over the years to build and sustain our efforts. Although we are not sending volunteers this year, we still need your help. We need your ideas on how we can reshape our organization on this shifting ground. And we need your help with donations for the very pressing problems of emergent sickness and hunger during this pandemic.
This pandemic is forcing Missoula Medical Aid back to our roots. So in addition to offering short-term help, we are in close conversation with our Honduran partners in order to evaluate our long-term programs. Once again we are asking the first question asked by those nurses years ago after Hurricane Mitch: How best can we help?