In the midst of all of the life-saving medical equipment shipped in containers by District 6600’s organization, Medical Equipment Supplies Abroad (M.E.S.A.), a simple ball cap can seem like a relatively unimportant after thought. But shipment after shipment, these hats show they are so much more than a discarded hat.
The high-quality hats (some retail up to $18) are provided to M.E.S.A. by Pukka Inc., a custom hat and apparel company in Findlay, Ohio and owned by a Findlay Rotarian, Kent Rogers. Pukka gives M.E.S.A. hats that are unable to be sold by the company for a variety of reasons. The hats may be branded with a company logo and often end up in the company’s basement.
M.E.S.A. gives the Pukka hats to children in the area where the equipment containers land. Sometimes the hats are even offered as payment to individuals for helping to unload the containers. M.E.S.A. Operations Director Gary Davis shares, “I can only send a few hundred at a time because if I send too many the black market gets ahold of them and sells them for about $10 each, a huge amount of money in these areas.”
Whenever the hats are delivered, M.E.S.A. always receives pictures back of happy individuals wearing the hats. In turn, MESA shares those pictures with the people at Pukka who continue provide hats as they know they will end up reaching the most disadvantaged in the world.
The hats are an great example of taking items that are nearly worthless to one organization and making them invaluable to another. Hats off to Pukka and M.E.S.A. for this excellent partnership!
Pictured below are hats from a recent shipment to Tanzania. Tanzania is located on the southeastern side of Africa. Pukka hats were delivered to five different areas in the country.