Saturday, January 18, 2014

Shipping Days and Cookies

I do volunteer work with an organization based here in the Twin Cities called Mano a Mano. Click here to learn more what this fine organization does to make life better for the people, largely those who live in poverty, in Bolivia.

One huge effort of this organization is collection of good, usually new, supplies that U. S. health organizations throw away or supplies that people have had in their homes and no longer can be returned to any health organization in the U.S. Mano a Mano collection area is primarily only the Twin Cities area and that area produces a huge immense of materials that can be used in Bolivia.

What do I mean by throw away supplies? Well, if a tray is opened in a health organization and perhaps only one 4x4 gauze pad is used, everything else on the tray, brand new and unused, is discarded. All around the Twin Cities are caring people who collect these type of materials and set it aside for pick-up. Other volunteers drive to these organizations and pick up the supplies and bring them to the Mano a Mano warehouse. The picture below shows volunteers unloading a small van.

This results in a mass of materials that looks like this.

This ends up looking like this. Other volunteers come in and sort the materials into groups such as bed linens or wound dressing supplies.

Then several times a year comes the shipping time.

Large containers are trucked in. Volunteers come in to load the containers. The group below is working with large objects such as crutches, wheel chairs, and furniture which do not lend themselves being placed into small boxes.

Small boxes are placed on pallets and then wrapped in plastic before shipping. Then the pallet is placed in the container using a fork lift.

And when the container is full it starts on its way to the warehouse in Cochabamba, Bolivia where the supplies are unloaded, re-sorted, and then distributed out to health organizations.

Now about the cookies in the title. My volunteer job is to make cookies for the volunteer coffee breaks. Today the temperature was 9 degrees (-12 C) when I left for warehouse. As you might expect, it is not warm in the warehouse. The volunteers are  working in their winter clothes and after a couple of hours of work they really need a coffee break.

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