It’s often been said one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but for people living in Rwanda, some things considered old and outdated by Canadian standards have the potential to save lives in the war-torn African nation.

Recently, a half-semi load of used and outdated medical equipment and supplies was donated by hospitals in La Loche and Ile-a-la Crosse to Food for the Hungry, a Christian non-profit organization dedicated to ending poverty throughout the world. Organized through the local efforts of Meadow Lake resident and retired nurse June Menard, the recent donation is the first of its kind to come from hospitals in the North and it’s one that will surely make a difference to people in need half a world away.

Menard, who has been involved with Food for the Hungry for many years, should be commended for her efforts to assist those less fortunate. It may take a heck of a lot more to ultimately solve the issue of global poverty, but the small difference made by Menard and others  just as committed as she is still goes a long way for folks  fortunate enough to find themselves on the receiving end of such generosity.

According to officials with the Prairie North Regional Health Authority, depending on the nature, condition, and functionality of the used medical equipment, such items are usually sold, donated or scrapped. In this particular case, however, it’s uncertain exactly what would have become of the equipment from the North if Menard, as well as Food for the Hungry, wasn’t in the picture. Chances are the equipment would be disposed of, likely at the expense of taxpayers. So, not only do such endeavours help people in need, it potentially saves on provincial health care expenses.

In this particular case, Jay’s Transport even donated its time to haul the recently donated items from Meadow Lake to Saskatoon. There’s something about the idea of helping others that seems to bring out the best in everyone.

On the topic of generosity, it would be remiss not to mention the late Elaine Yaychuk who, because of the contributions she made over the years to Meadow Lake and beyond, was recognized last week with the Meadow Lake and District Chamber of Commerce’s Community Builder Award. The distinction was bestowed during the chamber’s annual Business Excellence Award and organizers could not have picked a better candidate. Yaychuk, who died last May, not only served on city council, but volunteered her time and effort for various causes and initiatives ever since her arrival on the Meadow Lake scene in the 1980s. She certainly left her mark on the community and it’s comforting to see the community hasn’t forgotten.

Goodwill goes a long way and everyone could learn a lot from the kindness and generosity people like Yaychuk and Menard have offered throughout the years. They can both be considered community builders.

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