Yule tidings from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Intermountain Health Care have been sent to Polish President Lech Walesa.
With the assistance of Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a letter will be delivered this week to Walesa announcing the shipment of 31 pallets of medical supplies, clothing and bedding for needy Polish citizens.The supplies, which left Salt Lake this week, will be loaded on a boat in California and will arrive in Gdynia, Poland, in mid-January. The Roman Catholic Church in the Polish city of Katowice will distribute the supplies to local hospitals and clinics.
"The shipment represents the donation from the people of the state of Utah to the Medical Aid for Poland Fund," said the letter to Walesa. It was signed by Scott S. Parker, president of IHC, and Elaine Jack, general president of the LDS Church Relief Society.
The two organizations spearheaded the charitable effort, which was aided by several medical companies.
The charitable plan was inspired several months ago when Baroness Caroline Cox, a member of the British peerage, visited Salt Lake City.
"At a meeting of the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Baroness informed us of the need the people of Poland have for medical supplies of every description," the letter reads. "Her story touched us deeply, and we are eager to do what we can to alleviate the suffering of those in need of medical care."
Parker and Jack added, "We hope this contribution will relieve, in some degree, the shortages of medical supplies your country is currently experiencing. The people of Utah offer their prayers, encouragement and support to the Polish people."
Donations from Utah include everything from vitamins to surgical gloves and syringes to quilts, blankets and clothing.
According to IHC vice president Steve Kohlert, the shortage of medical supplies and other materials in Poland is great because of a breakdown in the manufacture and distribution of these items. The shortage, he said, is a result of the Poles' struggling economy.
"Being ill is traumatic enough. But to be in that position and not have the basics make it that much worse," Kohlert said.
Other companies that contributed to the shipment included: Dey, Henry Shine Pharmaceutical, LifeMed, Deseret, Baxter Travenol, Premium Plastics, Association of Independent Pharmacists. Additional help was given by Hoerscht-Rouseel, Turmo, Becton-Dickinson, Pharmics, Owens and Minor, Progard, and AMFAC.