While SOS has supported medical education and local organizations for several years, the need to direct more resources to local partners had increased in recent years, and then became even more urgent during COVID. SOS donated more than $1 million worth of supplies to help fight COVID in our own community. Moving past the pandemic, SOS has donated medical supplies to over 133 local social service organizations and educational institutions valued at more than $960,000 so far this year.

This growth and increasing focus on supporting more local partners created the opportunity for a new first-time position at SOS. Portia Watson, new Local Health Program Manager, will oversee all program activities directly impacting local health. SOS works with local and regional educational organizations, clinics, social service organizations and animal welfare agencies to meet their needs for medical and health supplies. Portia is a native of Louisville, and spent many years working in Thailand as an educator, translator, and non-profit program coordinator. Portia’s experience in the non-profit world led her back to Louisville, where she’s worked as a caseworker at Kentucky Refugee Ministries.

SOS is pleased to also announce new International Program Manager (IPM), Giovani Oliveira. The IPM oversees the work of SOS to improve health in medically impoverished regions poor and developing countries. They work closely with international partners to develop an appropriate response to the need and handles all tasks related to preparing and shipping medical and other health-related resources overseas. To date in 2021, SOS has sent large shipments of medical supplies and other health items (water, food) to Covid-embattled India and war-torn Tigray Ethiopia, as well as, to rural communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Peru, and Sierra Leone, to name a few. Originally from Brazil, Giovani has been living in the United Stated for 7 years and is new to Louisville.