A day on the dock at Vine’s warehouse in Guatemala is an extraordinary experience. Watch visitors come and go for a day and you’d wonder what any of them had in common: the blue-eyed woman in the jungle-ready van; the indigenous guys in the four wheel drive delivery truck. Two men barely make it through the front gate in a wheezing old sedan, and a husband and wife team roll up in a nice SUV. You’d be tempted to make some assumptions based on what they’re driving and what they’re doing, but the man loading medicine into the pickup is a CEO, the woman stuffing the battered car with gauze and vitamins is an MD, and neither one will hold on to what they’re collecting. They’re picking it up to give it away.
Vine serves more than a hundred and twenty organizations across the country, and many of them drive to the warehouse for their supplies. What they have in common is what brings them to Vine: they’re serving people who are in desperate need. Some of theirpatients can’t pay (orphans, people with severe disabilities, and remote communities aren’t able to buy much of anything), so our ministry partners offer what they have: their lives, and your supplies. Many communities can only afford fees that are important but symbolic, and they don’t cover the costs of service or supplies. In those cases, our ministry partners offer what they have: their lives, and your supplies.
One doctor looked around the warehouse at the wheelchairs, wound care, antibiotics and vitamins available to him through Vine. “We’re there in the communities,” he said, “but without these supplies, what can we really do?”
Vine isn’t the source of any of this aid, and we’re not the end user. We call it Vine, not Root or Produce. We think it’s an expression of God’s love for people in need, and God lets us be a part of it. We know how to multiply what’s given to us, and how to get it to people who can use it best, but none of it happens without people like you, who give in the first place. Part of the beauty of how Vine works is that you may never meet the ones who use these supplies, but you can still be involved in each others’ lives. I get to meet some of them, the ones doing frontier medicine in the forgotten corners of Central America, and here’s what they say when they pick up supplies: Thank you. They say, send us the material, and we’ll use it here in the lives of people who would stay sick without it. You couldn’t do this without them, and they couldn’t do it without you.
I don’t know of a better way to give: A $1000 gift to Vine sends medical supplies worth $50,000 to the people who need it most. There will be a day on the dock when they’ll show up - doctors and dentists, nurses and nuns - and once they’ve gotten what they need, they’ll drive away with a smile, thinking of the patients they’re about to go help. That’s a story I want to be part of. Give to Vine, and you’re in the story too.