Medical Equipment and Supplies Abroad (MESA) is encouraging all Rotary Clubs in District 6600 to consider holding a clothing drive. MESA is District 6600’s largest service project and yearly collects medical supplies and equipment and ships the containers all over the world. Last year shipments from MESA reached Jamaica, Honduras, Mongolia, Belize, Nicaragua, Nigeria, and Guatemala. The sometimes fragile equipment and long trips require each container to be packed with care and clothing is the solution. According to MESA Operations Manager Gary Davis, “We generally put 1,500-2,000 pounds of clothing in each container.”
Once the containers arrive at their destination, the second purpose for the clothing is realized. MESA Chairman and Past District Governor Bob Vincent shares, “Because the packing materials themselves are also needed by people in the area where the containers are going, they are our lagniappe, which is a French word that means ‘something extra’. The clothing sent creates a lot of excitement, joy, and goodwill as the local Rotarians in the final port unload the medical equipment and supplies.”
Gary Davis also shared that when containers are going to specific areas where we already have partnerships, sometimes the clothing is more specific. “In the last shipment we sent to Honduras we packed the container with clothing specifically for a girls’ orphanage there. It costs MESA $5,500 to send a container and we want to use every inch of that container to make a difference.”
If you or your Rotary club would like to participate in the MESA Clothing Drive, here are some recommendations from MESA:
- Clothing and bedding of all sorts is accepted.
- Children’s clothing and shoes are an important need.
- Winter clothing is accepted but should be marked as such.
- An ideal donation would include clothing in a sturdy garbage bag with no more than 20 pounds of clothing per bag. Each bag is moved and transported over eight times from donation to destination so tough garbage bags are a must.
- Bring your donations to the Rotary District Conference at Kalahari on April 17-19th, 2015. A MESA truck will be parked near the conference center to drop off your donations.
For more information about organizing your clothing drive please contact Gary Davis at email@example.com or 419-348-7719.