Donations ready to be sent to Cuba

Fundraising initiative underway to raise $12,000 to cover cost of shipping two containers to Caribbean country.

  • Apr. 24, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Cuba youth baseball team celebrates receiving donated equipment from Kelowna.

A local fundraising effort is underway to pay for the cost to ship  two 10-by-20-foot shipping containers  packed with donations earmarked for Cuba.

The containers have already been filled with baseball and sporting equipment, household items, baby clothing and thousands of shoes from Soles4Souls.

The goal is to raise the $12,000 cost by May 1 in order to have the containers shipped to Cuba by June 1.

Kinsley Hettinga said her dad Rick started this initiative originally by taking duffle bags full of donations on his trips to Cuba and quickly saw the need for more. After spending countless months working with government officials and various communities, his efforts let to doors being opened that would allow the aid to go into Cuba.

“For the last eight years, our family has been collecting and shipping sports equipment and household goods in 10-by-20 shipping containers across the ocean to Cuba,” Hettinga said. “The outpouring of donations across the country has been astounding.”

On Oct. 31, 2015, Rick  suffered a major aorta dissection and as a result suffered a stroke.  After spending seven days in the cardiac ICU and further weeks in the hospital, he was finally able to come home, but the effects of the stroke have taken a huge financial toll, Hettinga said.

“Here is where we need help. The two containers have already been purchased and they are completely full of donations, but the cost of shipping the containers is still outstanding.  Each container costs approximately $6,000 to ship from Canada to Cuba,” she said,

“Cuba is a vibrant country full of beautiful people and incredible culture. However; upon further examination it is easy to see that this communist country, although attending to its people’s need for shelter and health care, is deprived of so many basic needs.

“Access to and participation in sport is a human right and organized sports is basicaly unheard of in Cuba. Sports promote healthy habits for children in vulnerable communities, where drug and alcohol addiction is a common consequence of of those in poverty seeking relief from their high-stress lives.

“We have seen the impact that these donations make in the lives of the locals and would love to get the donations in the hands of those waiting.”

For more information or to make a donation online, go to www.gofundme.com/cubadonations.

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