An Evolving Response to an Evolving Crisis

At MEDLIFE, our priorities are driven by listening to marginalized communities and responding to their self-identified needs. This means adapting our approach to address the most urgent issues faced by communities.

As the pandemic drags on in Latin America and Africa, our partner communities have been reaching out to us for healthcare support. Since local hospitals continue to be overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases, many community members have struggled to access medical attention for other health issues. Financial strain, transportation restrictions, and fear of contracting COVID-19 have created further barriers to receiving care.

That’s why we’re shifting the focus of our COVID-19 response from hunger relief to healthcare provision! Our newest Moving Mountains fundraising campaign, Healthy Futures For All, is focused on bringing Mobile Clinics, patient follow-up services, and health education workshops to low-income communities. This is in addition to our ongoing Mini MED Center projects, including our bodega, bakery, and permanent Community Soup Kitchen.

There’s so much we can do to help vulnerable families bounce back from the pandemic. Join us in this effort by donating now or keep reading to learn more about our COVID-19 response!




Phase 1:

Emergency Food Packages

Our first phase of COVID-19 relief began with our community organizers reaching out to communities to identify families struggling with food insecurity. After our team raised enough funds to purchase food, we packaged, disinfected, and delivered a week’s supply of food to the identified families. This was a difficult and complicated process that often required government-issued permits for deliveries. 


Phase 2:

Community Soup Kitchens

A few months into the pandemic, the situation in many of our partner communities was seriously deteriorating. But as each individual family’s resources began to run short, we saw something amazing happen. Entire neighborhoods started coming together and to share whatever food they had at home. By pooling resources, they created large pots of food that could feed entire communities. 

Around this time, community members began asking the MEDLIFE team if we could help sustain these locally-led initiatives. Thanks to the support of passionate students and dedicated donors around the world, we were able to say yes and begin our Community Soup Kitchen program. We then expanded this project to communities in Ecuador, including Amazonian communities in the region of Tena. Finally, we reached our goal of serving 1 million meals in June 2021!

Phase 3:

Healthcare Services

According to the World Health Organization, 90% of countries are still reporting disruptions to essential health services due to COVID-19. As a result, millions of people are still missing out on vital medical care. To help solve this issue, we’re shifting our focus from emergency hunger relief to bringing Mobile Clinics, patient follow-up services, and educational health workshops to our partner communities.

This will be in addition to our sustainable initiatives based out of our Mini MED Center in the community of Union Santa Fe in Lima, Peru.


Delivered 5000+ food packages

Opened a bodega

Established a computer lab


Started a bakery

Served over 1 million meals

Sponsored 40+ Community Soup Kitchens

A message from our founder, Nick Ellis MD:

“When COVID-19 first hit, we had hundreds of communities reach out and ask for support. Although nutritional support is not something that we’ve traditionally done, we started by providing a few hundred meals a day and quickly scaled that to over 5,000 meals a day. Recently, we reached 1 million meals served. We certainly wouldn’t have been able to do that without you. On behalf of all of our MEDLIFE staff and communities, THANK YOU!”

Hear it From MEDLIFErs

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Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

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Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.

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Anita Woo
University of Toronto

I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

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David Saff
Maclay High School

The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

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Sydney Sansone
Nova Southeastern University

This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.

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Abygail Youmans
College of Charleston

Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.

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Emi Hofmann
University of Central Florida

Not only was I able to participate in a week long Mobile Clinic, shadowing doctors of all types of specialties including pharmacy, dentistry, gynecology, and more, but I was also able to learn about the culture and visit incredible places.

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Julian Takagi-Stewart
University of Toronto

One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

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Hannah Van Hofwegen
University of Ottawa

Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.

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Isabelle Holt
Cornell University

I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

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Valerie Lindeborg

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

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Harry Vildibill
University of Georgia

As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.