By David F. Rooney
Ask most people about ways they can personally help people in developing countries and many will likely reach for their cheque books — not Ray Brosseuk and the volunteers who help him. They think in terms of 20-ton shipping containers.
“We’re shipping three containers to Swaziland (65 tons), one to Lesotho (23 tons) and one to Fiji (also 23 tons),” says the man who did very well in Yukon mining ventures and now helps people in the developing world.
“So far this year we have shipped out 65,000 lbs of clothing from the (Revelstoke) Thrift Store. Last year we shipped 123,000 lbs of just clothing. The total weight of all goods we sent overseas last year was 555,900 lbs.”
That’s a lot of stuff. And it’s very eclectic stuff. Besides the hundreds of bales of shoes, sneakers and clothes that volunteers sorted and packaged in an industrial bay in the Big Eddy this week, there are 43,000 lbs of ceramic tile destined for a children’s hospital in Swaziland, about 6,000 eyeglasses from the Lions’ Club, obsolete wheelchairs and crutches from the Red Cross, 150 barrels of packaged dried soups (each barrel contains 80 one-kilo bags, each of which can feed 200 orphans), and many other goods that can feed or ease the lives of thousands of desperately poor people abroad.
“Nothing from the Thrift Store goes to waste,” Brosseuk said. “I expected it to slow down because of the recession, but it hasn’t. Even in hard times local people are willing to help others in need.”
Local people also give their time to help with Brosseuk’s project. Volunteers come out for three hours every Thursday to sort, fold and bale clothes and other items for shipment overseas.
For more information about volunteering your time on Thursdays call Jane McNab at 250-837-5910. For more information about any aspect of the project call Ray at 250-837-6444 or to see exactly how that work benefits others go to the new website Partnersforothers.com or log onto YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_autR1FtyU. Other videos are available for viewing at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_autR1FtyU and at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpG1aD_G7S0.