Locally, nationally and internationally, World Medical Relief (WMR) is widely regarded as Metro Detroit's foremost not-for-profit organization, helping the poor, sick, and elderly. Our mission has been--and will continue to be--to turn the sins of waste into the miracles of mercy by collecting and distributing medical supplies, medicines, and recycled medical equipment for the betterment of mankind.
In 1953, a Detroit housewife--Irene M. Auberlin--embarked upon a remarkable mission. Inspired by the plight of a single war orphan during the height of the Korean War, Mrs. Auberlin mobilized her friends and family to collect food, baby clothing, cribs, and medicines to ship overseas. Her original goal--to help one small boy--turned into a much larger mission: relieving the pain and suffering of an entire orphanage filled with 400 hurting children. Under Mrs. Auberlin’s careful watch (and with the assistance of her husband Lester), the mission expanded. World Medical Relief began collecting and distributing recycled medical and dental equipment, medical supplies, and medicines to aid thousands of sick and poor people around the globe. They were doing “God’s work,” as Mrs. A. would say, by turning the sins of waste into the miracles of mercy.
By 1956, however, there was still a problem of space, and a desperate need for a warehouse to store all of the donations. The last straw, for both the Auberlins and their neighbors, came when a delivery truck filled their backyard with hospital beds, wheelchairs, and bedpans when they were not at home. The efforts, now collectively called World Medical Relief (WMR) moved to a four-story warehouse in Detroit, but the work outgrew several warehouses over the years. Because Mrs. Auberlin’s story traveled throughout the world, so too did the requests for help from World Medical Relief. In 1964, with the help of the late Stanley S. Kresge, Mrs. Auberlin and World Medical Relief moved into an eight-story warehouse to fulfill the growing requests, which Mrs. Auberlin called, “The House That Faith Built.”
Fast forward to 2015 which was a year like no other in the history of World Medical Relief. On August 1, we packed up 50 years of history in our building at 11745 Rosa Parks (Twelfth Street), Detroit, Michigan and moved it to 21725 Melrose Avenue, Southfield, Michigan. Irene Auberlin’s “House That Faith Built” was sold to another Detroit non-profit so the building will continue to be used to service the community.
We now have ten loading docks available for the international program and inside the building, walls were torn down to combine offices and make room for new projects such as the international pacemaker and bio-medical areas, as well as an outpatient clinic. It is now 2017, and we are eager to build on current programs (Affordable Prescriptions, Durable Medical Equipment, Local Shipping, Medical Supply Service, Hygiene Kits & Blanket Relief, and International) as well as expand new initiatives described above.
Our current building in Southfield was purchased with a combination of bequest and monetary support from the Auberlin Foundation. This is a lasting legacy that we need to maintain and preserve for future generations.
Now in its 65th year, World Medical Relief counts among its highest priorities the continued excellence of its local and international programs, and the development and expansion of new initiatives. We have started a new phase of securing gifts to help sustain current programs and build new programs, to offer endowment and naming opportunities and preserve the legacy started by Mrs. Auberlin for future generations in many years to come.
If you are interested in sponsorship and or naming opportunities for the new headquarters, please contact
Josephine Jabara, Director of Development, phone: 313-866-5333 ext. 243, or firstname.lastname@example.org.