For the last 28 years, Partners for Others, a charity run out of the Big Eddy in Revelstoke, has been shipping containers of much-needed goods to less-fortunate parts of the world thanks to the help of dedicated volunteers, local thrift stores, and Interior Health.
Now, the charity’s founder, Ray Brosseuk, is asking for the community’s help to send these much-needed supplies to countries in Africa and Central America.
Brosseuk’s warehouse is chalked full of clothes, medical supplies, linens, and other goods which have been donated by a number of local parties. Partners for Others now needs help from the community to fund the shipment of containers so that those important donations don’t go to waste.
“We’re right to the max,” said Brosseuk of his warehouse.
Brosseuk’s family moved around in the South Pacific after leaving British Columbia when he was just nine years old. They spent time in Fiji and Tonga before heading to Central America to volunteer in schools. He returned to Canada at 18 and entered the gold mining business, but his heart was drawn back to the places he spent his childhood.
He returned to Fiji at 20 and looked at the situations of the people he grew up with through a different lens.
“I saw families struggling financially to be able to send their kids to school, in some cases only being able to afford to send one of their kids; I found it heartbreaking to even think about having to make such a decision,” wrote Brosseuk in the bio of his GoFundMe page.
When he returned to Canada he organized to send a crate of supplies to his former school.
Since then, Partners for Others has shipped more than two million kilograms of goods from Revelstoke to those in need in different corners of the world.
Interior Health gives pallets of emergency room equipment which are usually excess supplies from hospitals around the region. The supplies, which are a surplus here, are extremely valuable to those in other parts of the world.
“To them, it’s like gold,” said Brosseuk.
The local thrift store donates clothes, shoes, belts, crutches and wheelchairs.
Partners for Others has approximately seven full-time volunteers who come in to help load containers, fold clothes, and organize donations every week.
The organization recently received an $11,000 donation to ship a container to Costa Rica. From there, supplies are shipped to more rural areas like Honduras and El Salvador by plane thanks to the help of a Canadian pilot.
Similarly, Partners for Others work with distribution in Swaziland to move supplies to orphanages and other places in need in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Lesotho.
Each shipping container heading to Central America costs roughly $11,000 from the truck in Revelstoke to the port overseas. Containers heading to Africa cost $13,500 according to Brosseuk.
Partners for Others has started a GoFundMe to raise the funds to ship containers to places in need. To donate, head to www.gofundme.com/f/containers-of-aid.