Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Syria update... there's more to do!

Dear Friends of Syria-

An overdue update. I just checked and our first container is due to cross into the Mediterranean tomorrow and the second one is just leaving Rhode Island on route across the Atlantic after picking up her final cargo.

Two weeks ago, we sent out our second container to Syria, successfully loading an estimated 45,000 lbs of donated humanitarian and medical supplies in roughly 3 hours, thanks to an incredible turnout of motivated volunteers of literally every age. 

And here's a great image of the CHRHS band room before and after.

That photo is deceiving though because the donations have not stopped and we have the best kind of problem right now. Piles of donations, from hygiene products to clothes to stuffed animals and strollers all overflowing from the Mechanic Street porch. We also have a few residual things left on 64 Bayview Street (like an amazing maternity bed and some random medical equipment) and there are at least 9 exam tables and other equipment waiting for pickup in various places. Oh yeah, and we need to move our loading dock from the high school (the one we built).

NO CURRENT PLAN FOR STORAGE, but we're not quitting!
Here's the rub.... WE NEED SPACE. The current backup plan is to buy a 53ft storage trailer (about $2000-2500) and find a good place to park it (we're waiting to hear back from the American Legion Post on Pearl Street). We'd pay a fee to park the container somewhere and use a church, school, business, or home for bi-weekly one day sorting sessions and then move everything back into the container. We'd also love to share the wealth and expand the operation by partnering with a church or organization that helps local people. We already lend crutches, walkers, and wheelchairs, but we'd love to do more of that.

There is so much opportunity to turn this project into something EVEN BIGGER. I know it seems daunting, but we never imagined we'd get this big and reach so many people and the opportunities to save life saving equipment and materials from scrap metal, landfill, or the incinerator, is still bigger than we can absorb. That's right, the offers for donations are coming in all the time and things are still being wasted. Spend a day at the transfer station in Rockport and watch what goes into the hopper and scrap metal, and then remember that the SWAP SHOP isn't even open on Saturdays or the winter. What if we could accept an even broader range of things and be in a position to respond to all kinds of requests from local organizations. We could furnish apartments for veterans or people leaving homeless shelters. We could be a resource for local teachers and social workers. There is so much generosity out there and so much need, but we need a better system for making sure all of these resources are helping as many people with the greatest need.

Check out the for inspiration if you're interested in helping our project grow. 

When I began this process, I was deeply moved by the realization that all of our little efforts matter and add up to something much bigger than we imagine. I've spoken to so many of you who I know have been inspired too. We are not done yet and we either need to raise more money or find more space. This is the number one thing holding us back. 

Anyway... here are a few more photos from the second container:
Other assorted photos:
A huge thank you to all the amazing donors, lifters, sorters, thinkers, and cheer leaders. Thanks to you, there are many people in Syria who will know they are not forgotten and our shipment will provide hope and tools that will literally save lives. It doesn't get better than that.

Nothing quite like knowing you've given someone a little hope.