Blueprints for Pangaea donates medical supplies to underserved communities

Bella Nieto, Managing Editor

Blueprints for Pangaea (B4P) is a nonprofit organization with the mission of eliminating healthcare disparities by collecting and redistributing unused medical supplies. The organization has 10 chapters located in universities across the country. The parent organization was founded in 2013 at the University of Michigan. Elisa Carian and Andres Christodoulou co-founded the UTSA chapter in August 2019 with roughly 15 active members. 

Christodoulou briefly explained how the organization functions and its overall mission. 

“Since each chapter is run by local students, the B4P network is heavily involved in impacting local communities and individuals who need medical supplies, however, through the collaboration with other nonprofits, we are able to have an even greater impact in countries and communities abroad,” Christodoulou said.

Christodoulou read about Blueprints for Pangaea during his second semester at UTSA. The organization came up during a conversation he had in an honors class.  

“Civic Ethos is a mandatory class for all Honors College students, and for good reason. Throughout the semester, we researched, discussed, analyzed and debated what it means to be civically engaged in one’s community,” Christodoulou explained. “Professor Kalia Glover would always emphasize the difference between ‘Service’ and ‘Volunteering.’”

“Blueprints For Pangaea was a service-focused organization that made an especially strong impression on me from the moment it was discussed in class. At the end of the Spring 2019 semester, Elisa approached me with the idea of starting our own chapter at UTSA and we got to work. By the end of that summer, our chapter was up and running as a registered student organization.”

This year, the organization has held bi-weekly inventory events where members organize the medical equipment that has been donated and determines which ones are satisfactory. Approximately once a semester, the organization collaborates with the nonprofit Medical Bridges to ship the supplies they have collected to countries abroad. Medical Bridges’ latest shipments have been sent to Ukraine in response to the recent war. They have also held a Halloween-themed inventory event in October and, lastly, collaborated with Mental Health Team and Active Minds to host a movie night centered around mental health. 

Christodoulou shared what he felt were the most exciting parts of the organization. 

The most rewarding part of being a member of this organization is getting to see the impact we have on individuals in South Texas and abroad. The entire world has gone through immense amounts of stress over the past two years as a result of the pandemic,” Christodoulou explained. “Now imagine having the additional stress and worry of being a diabetic with a malfunctioning glucometer or a leg amputee who cannot afford crutches or a wheelchair. Imagine being the director of nursing at a rural hospital in a developing country that underfunds healthcare. Those surgical kits they receive from us may well be the difference between life and death for many patients. I’m so proud of this org and how much we’ve achieved so far. This academic year alone, we’ve collected and redistributed over $150,000 worth of medical equipment.”

“It’s exciting to experience the enthusiasm and drive that each member and officer brings to our family.”

Students who are interested in joining can reach out via email, Instagram or join the organization’s GroupMe:

Email: [email protected]

Instagram: b4p_utsa

GroupMe: https://groupme.com/join_group/53511251/4srp0hOo