WEATHER »

Direct Relief Drops ‘International’ from Name

Reflects Ongoing Efforts on U.S. Soil


While widely known for its responses to some of the worst overseas disasters in recent years, Goleta-based Direct Relief has been working domestically in the United States for decades and here in Santa Barbara County for 50 years.

To end any misconceptions, the organization recently dropped “International” from the end of its name. “It removes a point of potential confusion,” said Direct Relief executive director Thomas Tighe. Indeed, Direct Relief is very active on the home front, just as it is abroad. The organization works with neighborhood clinics and social service agencies around the country in all 50 states in an effort to keep the uninsured and under-insured healthy.

Direct Relief had been active in the U.S. for awhile, Tighe said, but it really upped the ante after Hurricane Katrina. At the time, officials in the organization — which began in 1948 — found it difficult to find where unmet needs existed, Tighe explained, so they created a structure to improve efficiencies. When all was said and done, Direct Relief was the first nonprofit licensed to distribute prescription medication in all 50 states. Now, the organization — which employs around 50 people — is the largest charitable medication donor in the United States, reaching out to more than 1,000 clinics.

But not only does Direct Relief’s network provide increased access to medication, now there is a system in place to react quickly in cases of emergency, such as Oklahoma’s tornado devastation a month ago. Because of that network, Direct Relief was able to quickly get in touch with health centers in the area and delivered more than $790,000 in emergency medical supplies. A few months prior to that, Direct Relief was engaged in helping with Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.

Locally, Direct Relief is helping stock the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics with medication and offering support to the county Public Health Department, realizing the importance in keeping track of what’s going on in our own backyard. “If it’s happening in Santa Barbara, it’s at least worth inquiring about in other places,” Tighe said.

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



event calendar sponsored by:

Santa Barbara Rental Prices Have Skyrocketed Over the Last Five Years

The average rent for a South Coast studio is $1,553.

Trio Stops the Show at Board of Education

More than a dozen appeal to Santa Barbara Unified School District to maintain music classes and programs.

Santa Barbara District Attorney Endorses Villaraigosa for Governor

Joyce Dudley preferred the former Los Angeles mayor’s positions on crime and education.

San Marcos Principal Files Suit Against Santa Barbara Unified School District

Ed Behrens charges emotional and physical distress due to demotion.

City Water Use Hits 1958 Levels

Population was twice today's; revenue close to falling short of expenses.