Coconut Creek, FL and Concord, NH – Food For The Poor and IRN – The Recycling Network are reaching out to the Boston area business, education, and healthcare community with a special call for furniture and equipment to outfit schools and clinics in the Dominican Republic.
Food For The Poor (FFP) is the nation’s largest international charity working to raise living standards in the Caribbean and Latin America. Food For The Poor is currently cooperating with the U.S. Military Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) to build and outfit two schools and three clinics in Barahona, in the southwestern Dominican Republic. One clinic will serve 1,600 families who currently do not have access to an adequate medical facility; two others are being expanded to provide new examination and patient care capabilities. The two schools will address a serious shortage of classrooms in the province. Each new facility will also serve as a hurricane shelter for local residents.
SOUTHCOM is constructing the facilities, and will provide training to local medical personnel to improve healthcare in Barahona and neighboring parts of Haiti. Food For The Poor and IRN have accepted the challenge to outfit each of the five facilities with all the furniture, equipment and supplies they will need to start operations in April or May of this year.
“This is a very poor region of the country,” said Mark Khouri, Food For The Poor’s Director of Gifts-In-Kind. “SOUTHCOM’s commitment to construct these schools and clinics gives us a tremendous opportunity to improve the lives of thousands of residents. It’s critical for us to support SOUTHCOM by providing the furniture, equipment, and supplies to make these facilities come to life.”
Khouri said that the school projects need student and teacher desks and chairs, bookshelves, chalkboards and whiteboards, kitchen appliances and utensils, sports equipment, and school supplies such as pens, paper, notebooks, and, scissors. The clinics’ needs include beds, privacy screens, examination tables, chairs, and almost any type of medical equipment or supplies such as stretchers, stethoscopes, thermometers and bandages.
Khouri encouraged any Boston-area organization with unneeded furniture or equipment to contact IRN and arrange a pickup or delivery to IRN’s warehouse in Somerville, MA. Thanks to support from SOUTHCOM and FFP, many of the costs of handling and shipping the furnishings to the Dominican Republic have been covered, so IRN will be able to offer a much reduced price for these services. IRN will accumulate inventory at its warehouse. When there is enough for a shipment, FFP will dispatch overseas shipping containers to be loaded and transported directly to Barahona, until the project is complete.
“IRN is our longtime and strongest partner in securing furniture and equipment for Food For The Poor projects,” said Khouri, “so it was natural that we reached out to IRN to outfit these schools and clinics. We know that almost every company, school, and hospital has surplus in storage that’s not likely to be used again. We hope that any organization that fits that description will call.”