As charitable organizations helping rebuild war-torn Liberia embark on another year of projects in the country, they will once again have the opportunity to turn to Firestone Natural Rubber Company, LLC (FSNR) as a partner in their efforts.
The company announced today it will extend its Donation Cargo Program through 2010, marking the ocean freight program’s fifth year.
“Over the past four years we’ve seen Donation Cargo Program participants complete an array of humanitarian projects in Liberia,” Dan Adomitis, President of FSNR told Tachoblog, “While the country’s need for humanitarian work is great, the generous spirit of these organizations and their volunteers is far greater. By extending this program for a fifth year, we can continue to help those who are having such a positive impact on the lives of Liberians.”
Click below for more and information on some of the charities that have been helped…
FSNR provides space on its ships for relief goods and other donated cargo from U.S.-based charitable organizations to help rebuild Liberia after its 14-year civil war. Since 2006, when the cargo donation program was formalized, more than 75 shipments have fulfilled the program’s approval requirements and been scheduled for shipping to the port of Monrovia. Estimates provided by the humanitarian organizations put the value of this donated cargo at more than $2.5 million USD. The following highlights are just a few of the Donation Cargo Program projects that took place in 2009.
International Book Project
The International Book Project (IBP) based in Lexington, Ky., coordinated with the Liberian nonprofit YOSHUDEA to provide more than 8,000 English, math and science textbooks to a wide range of Liberian schools, from primary through university level. Most of these schools do not have a library and very few have more than one textbook per 10 students.
“The success of each project IBP undertakes in the developing world hinges on two things: a reliable overseas partner and adequate funding,” said Rachel Lewis, Executive Director of the International Book Project. “Our partnership with Firestone allowed more of our funding to go directly to rebuilding the Liberian educational system, a key component to establishing peace and economic growth as the people there start a new chapter in their country’s history.”
Hope Feeds: The Peanut Butter House
The Peanut Butter House is a joint effort between First Presbyterian Church of Fort Collins, Colo., and Hope Feeds, a program of Global Strategies for HIV Prevention, to address nutrition problems that plague HIV/AIDS patients and otherwise vulnerable populations in developing countries through the use of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTFs, including peanuts, powdered milk, powdered sugar and vitamins). Using materials shipped through the Donation Cargo Program, volunteers from these groups are building a facility and training young people to administer an RUTF program in Liberia.
“It was just unbelievable when we found out we’d been accepted to ship through the Firestone program — like an answered prayer,” said Doran Geise, a Peanut Butter House volunteer. “We now have several thousand more dollars that will go to feeding nearby hospital patients and orphans.”
Starting new Liberian mission work in 2009 at the Camphor Mission Station outside of Buchanan, Liberia, were Rev. Kathy Dickriede, a United Methodist Pastor, and her husband, Dr. Danny Dickreide, an emergency room physician. With the help of FSNR, they coordinated their first-ever freight shipment to bring in donated items from Med Wish and Mentor United Methodist Church in Akron, Ohio, including fast-setting concrete, food, water, office and school supplies and furniture, medical books, an examination table, bikes and tools.
“The expense of sending a container is already high with transportation to and from the ports. If it was not for the Firestone donation program, I don’t know if we would ever consider shipping another container,” Rev. Dickriede said. “Working with Firestone helped tremendously on the financial end and gave us confidence as we were doing this for the first time.”
College Park Church
Indianapolis, Ind.-based College Park Church shipped its fifth freight container to Liberia in 2009 to resupply its ongoing work at Bethesda Christian Mission School in Monrovia. The latest shipment included food, greenhouses, toiletries, children’s books, sporting equipment and mosquito nets.
“If you would have asked me back in 2005 how you get food from Indianapolis to Liberia, I didn’t have a clue,” said Ardie Bucher, a church member who has traveled to the country three times since the organization began shipping containers. “Our partnership with the Liberian people would be close to impossible without Firestone’s help. The neat thing about Firestone’s program, it’s easy to use, it’s reliable, and it saves us money. And that’s money we can use to help the people of Liberia.”
Cargo space is available to qualified charitable organizations with the ocean freight expense covered by FSNR. Under the program, each company ship en route from Baltimore, Md., to the port of Monrovia in Liberia will reserve several containers’ worth of space for relief goods and other donated cargo. FSNR accepts containers of non-perishable foods, medical supplies, new and used clothing, school books and other relief goods and delivers them to Liberia on behalf of the donor charity.
Charitable organizations interested in shipping items to Liberia can download an application from www.FirestoneNaturalRubber.com and e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org with a scanned copy of 501(c)(3) documentation.