Material Aid and Shipping

In the face of a disaster, disease, violence or poverty, sometimes it is the most basic of material goods that can be the most useful.

Since 1979, Operation USA has delivered $450M in aid to 101 countries–much of which was comprised of material goods. In areas where disasters and poverty impact lives and livelihoods, OpUSA delivers seasonal clothing, jackets and winterization supplies, and other protective gear to families who need it most. In regions where famine takes a heavy toll, OpUSA ships water, nonperishable food, vitamins and supplements and other items aimed at improving food security and nutrition. All around the world, OpUSA regularly ships hospital equipment and medical supplies in order to bolster health care. Donations from corporate partners make much of this work possible.

In the Port of Los Angeles–which occupies 7,500 acres of land and water along 43 miles of waterfront on San Pedro Bay—is a 24,000 square foot warehouse facility run by Operation USA. Opened more than 30 years ago, today the California Board of Pharmacy-licensed facility is run by a longtime Operation California staff member, and serves communities here at home and around the world. Though the warehouse thrives in times of disaster response, shipments go out to communities in need throughout the year.

In addition to ongoing program support, the OpUSA warehouse is poised to react quickly and efficiently when disaster strikes. During these busy times, volunteers are called in from other local agencies to help facilitate the receiving, organizing, storing and shipping of materials. Most of those materials are donated as bulk, in-kind donations from corporate partners, and can include anything from large hospital equipment and machinery to water purification supplies to diapers and baby food, among other things. The warehouse is also stocked with shelter items, first aid kits and over the counter medications for quick distribution in the face of disaster. Operation California/Operation USA works consistently throughout the year to procure large donations from corporations–such as drinking water, food, and clothing–and health care partners, and these partnerships are especially valuable when communities have been impacted by a disaster such as an earthquake, tornado, flood, drought or typhoon.

Once in-kind donations are received, staff and volunteers work to pack sea containers, trucks or planes for shipments overseas or within the United States. Often, the actual shipping process is the greatest challenge in providing much-needed relief to disaster-stricken communities. When corporate partners provide materials, and the destination is determined, OpUSA and the warehouse staff must then coordinate the donation of shipping services by truck, cargo plane or ship, or must raise the funds needed to pay for the shipments. When the general public responds to a disaster with a monetary donation, those funds can be allocated directly to “getting it there” and ensuring that a shipment can get out of the warehouse quickly. This type of donation plays a key role in disaster relief.

In 2021, shipments around the world were primarily comprised of face masks, medical equipment, hospital supplies and other disaster relief materials such as oral rehydration products, cleaning supplies, personal protective gear, sports uniforms, and more.

We are grateful to all partners who make our material aid and shipping programs possible.

For more information or to join us as a corporate donor, contact us.