History of MEMO

In 2004 retired family doctor Jerome Harvey of Thunder Bay Ontario was looking out his kitchen window at the soon to be closed 250 bed Port Arthur General Hospital. As a brand new state of the art, single hospital was being built with all new equipment, he wondered what was going to happen to all the medical equipment left behind in this hospital as well as the other old hospital to be closed – the 375-bed McKellar hospital.

His inquiries led him to discover that because of Thunder Bay’s isolation (500 km to the next nearest large population centre) the cost of removal and shipping made the contents of the two old hospitals valueless. Reluctantly, the hospital administration admitted that most of the equipment would be sold to a scrap dealer for $180 a ton.

A few weeks later Dr Harvey found himself in Cuba digging ditches to restore the water system in a Christian Children’s camp. The thought came to him, “I wonder if Cuba could use all that hospital stuff, which included complete operating rooms, x-ray machines and beds. At the same time Dr Harvey met a Cuban doctor, Dr Aurora Riera,who was willing to work as liaison between the Canadians and Cubans. Meeting with Cuban Ministry of Health Officials they assured him that anything MEMO could send would be helpful as Cuba had an adequate supply of well trained doctors but was woefully inadequate in medical equipment and supplies.


MEMO volunteers finish packing 55th container in a snow storm

And thus MEMO was formed as a ministry of Grace Evangelical Free Church Thunder Bay under the registered Canadian Charity The Evangelical Free Church of Canada. MEMO’s activities centered in Thunder Bay, Ontario, though volunteers and equipment come from across Canada. It was discovered that hospitals replace about 10% of their equipment every year. MEMO became an ongoing project.

In 2012 MEMO was no longer able to ship containers to Cuba. In it’s place it began sending medical supplies to Cuba in suitcases
carried by Tourists to Varedaro. Most of the supplies went to the Children’s Hospital in Matanzas.
Over the ensuing 11 years 20 tons of medical supplies have been carried to Cuba by tourists.
Over the next 20 years MEMO would ship over 100 40’ ocean containers of life saving and life enhancing supplies.
Shipments have added up to 2,000,000 pounds of humanitarian aid. Shipments have included 9 xray machines, 2 mammography trailers,
 350 beds, 3 vehicles including 2 ambulances, 2 mammography trailers, all the way down to 12 tons of hospital linens among much else.

One of the distinctive differences of MEMO from similar organizations in Canada is that we have always insisted in providing medical/surgical/technical teams going to the site of donation to insure appropriate use of the new technology. To date MEMO has facilitated 26 self supporting teams of Canadians working with Cuban specialists for installation and operation.

This has included teams that have instituted laproscopic abdominal and knee surgery,minimal access prostate surgery and the only breast cancer screening facility in the country. Another distinctive of MEMO’s help is that we pay all shipping costs, relieving recipient organizations of often deterrent and crushing financial burdens.


MEMO Mobile Beast Screening clinic in Cuba
Canadian nurse teaching insertion of chemotherapy infusion line to Cuban Oncologist

MEMO in spite of active solicitation receives no government or corporate funding. Shipped approximately $3 million for shipping supplies in todays currency

El Salvador

Shalom Clinic Texacuangos El Salvador

In the spring of 2013 MEMO received a call from a Christian Community Clinic in El Salvador where 40% of people can afford no medical care. The Shalom Clinic located in the gang ravaged community of Texacuangos had been built by a missionary organization called Harvesting in Spanish. They ran out of money building this 40 room clinic and needed help in equipping it. This is what MEMO does.

Since the spring of 2012 we have sent a number of containers to El Salvador containing all the furnishings, clinical laboratory, digital x-ray machine,fixed and mobile breast screening machines, a two-chair dental suite, and a large fully equipped ambulance.

During it’s time in EL Salvador MEMO shipped 15 containers of medical and humanitarian aid to the Shalom Clinic , A Christian community development project, and 4 El Salvadorian General Hospitals.

This is just a small sampling of what MEMO has accomplished in the last 10 years. The Villa Clara Minister of Health in Cuba said, “Since MEMO has been helping us, health care in our province has made a 180 degree turn for the better!”

In 2016 MEMO joined it’s sister organization The Zimbabwe Gecko Society (ZGS) under the EFCCM and run by Susan Janetti of British Columbia Canada. The ZGS supports national Zimbabweans caring for 3000 aids orphans and develops self sustaining just communities. Part of this is having nationals develop self sustaining businesses which return 20% of their profits for supporting community schools, medical clinics and churches. To this end MEMO has provided all the tools for a carpentry school, a welding school, and sewing machines for a sewing school. MEMO provides medical equipment and supplies for 6 Zimbabwean hospitals, 7 clinics and 12 first aid posts. The clinics have said that without MEMO’s help they would barely function. The Villa Clara minister of health said”Since MEMO has been helping us, health care in our province has taken 180 degree turn for the better.

Ambulance being shipped to Shalom Clinic

Our motto, the words of Jesus, Have come true:

“Let your light shine so people will see your good works and will glorify your Father in Heaven” Mark 5:16