School: Sandra Day O’Connor High School
Like most good ideas, Eden Sapien’s a-ha moment came when something didn’t make sense to her.
“When my brother broke his arm, he got put on one of those braces that are pretty expensive. It cost $700,” Sapien said. “When he was done with it, my mother asked the doctor where she could donate it. And they basically told us you can’t donate it. No one can have it. And it was in perfect condition. Nothing was wrong with it.”
Saving Supplies Saves Lives was born. Rather than throw away that perfectly good brace or toss it in a closet, Sapien saw a greater purpose. Someone could use that brace. And wouldn’t there be hundreds, thousands of other medical devices destined for a landfill that still had purpose?
Sapien, 16, a junior at Sandra Day O’Connor High School, found local organizations, including Esperanca and Ryan House, that were looking for donated medical supplies and devices. Sapien stepped in as the bridge between the junk closets of the Valley and those charities.
“These people know it has value, so they don’t want to throw it away. But they also don’t know where to take it so it can be used again,” Sapien said. “One guy had broken both of his feet, both of his ankles, and his kids had broken a couple of feet. This family had eight boots. We got eight boots.”
The project became the basis for Sapien’s Golden Award project for Girl Scouts. She carefully inventoried everything she collected and redistributed. It took over the family garage on occasion. One of the things that struck her was how many people knew the medical items had value; they just didn’t know where or how to donate it.
“A lot of people told me how they had these supplies sitting in their closet for literally years on end,” Sapien said. “I found that in all communities. They were so appreciative to get rid of it and also to do something that would help someone.”Back to Recipients