California self-storage operator A-1 Self Storage is providing monetary support to the Helps International medical program in Guatemala, which provides U.S.-standard medical care in rural indigenous areas. The organization believes that alleviating physical suffering promotes a positive healthcare attitude among the rural population, and serves to lessen the burden on major medical centers in the cities.
According to Helpsintl.org, Guatemala has 8 million people in its public healthcare system, and the medical budget per person is $32 compared to $3,500 per capita in the United States. Moreover, these funds are spent in the major cities, leaving the rural areas with little or no access to healthcare.
The medical program began in 1988 with a team of eight U.S. plastic surgeons. Since then, Helps has dramatically expanded its outreach program, sending 65-member medical/surgical teams into rural areas of Guatemala. The teams comprise general practitioner physicians, ob/gyn, plastic and eye surgeons, dentists, pharmacists, operating room and recovery nurses, and anesthesiologists. Support personnel include engineers, kitchen staff and translators.
Organized in 1984 as a US 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, Helps has chapters in California, Guatemala, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon and Texas. The group partners with individuals, businesses, corporations, and local and national governments to alleviate poverty in Latin America. Beyond medical care, its programs include education, community and economic development, environmental protection, and agricultural innovations.
A-1 Self Storage has 16 locations in the San Diego County area and more than 40 locations statewide. It is the self-storage division of the Caster Cos., a third-generation, family-owned company headquartered in South California since 1959. Caster Cos. develops and manages A-1 Self Storage, A-1 Car Storage and other commercial properties in California. Its portfolio includes more than 4 million square feet of real estate.