Mission of Hope Warehouse

Joan Riani (left), confers with North Country Mission of Hope Executive Director Sister Debbie Blow at the group’s Sharron Avenue warehouse in Plattsburgh. The group is winding up operations there and searching for new space.

PLATTSBURGH — North Country Mission of Hope shipped 20,720 pounds in its first container of the year to Nicaragua on March 11.

That included, along with a wealth of medical equipment, eight refrigerators.

"They don't last very long down there," mission Materials Manager Jimmy DuMont said a few days before the shipment hit the road.

"These will go to the (Mission of Hope) warehouse in Nicaragua, then wherever they are needed. 

That shipment was just one of three that will head out by April 1.

NO WAREHOUSE YET

The Plattsburgh-based organization that helps the poor in the Central American country will lose its Sharron Avenue storage facility at the end of the month so has to empty it by then.

A $30,000 donation from Plattsburgh native Sheila Scully, who lives in California, is funding the three shipments that will accomplish that feat.

Meanwhile, Mission of Hope continues searching for new rent-free space to store the many future donations that will go to Nicaragua, and in some cases, help local families in need.

"We have regretfully declined one site offer due to distance of offloading, and we've looked at two other options," Mission of Hope Executive Director Sister Debbie Blow said.

They still welcome other offers as well, she said.

'PHENOMENAL'

And this Wednesday, volunteers are needed to load the second 40-foot shipping container, which will head out that day by truck then transfer to ship for the rest of the journey.

"We need 10 to 12 strong folks to help us load hospital beds," Blow said.

Those 30 or so beds were donated by Good Samaritan Hospital in Watertown, and will be very welcome in Nicaragua, where in the poor facilities assisted by Mission of Hope there are at times not enough beds for patients. 

A crowd of Chateaugay Central School students, along with other volunteers, made light of heavy work filling the first container, Blow said.

"(They) did a phenomenal job," she said.

KNOW FROM BOTH SIDES

"We've asked for a lot of things in the last week or two," said volunteer Paul Green, who became a regular after his granddaughter Courtney Gleason traveled with the mission to Nicaragua. 

Those vital helps included the generator chugging away that provides electricity in the warehouse and the salamander blasting heat that gives some warmth to the volunteers readying goods for shipment.

"It just astounds me," he said of the huge response.

In the warehouse, shrink-wrapped pallets held toys, clothing, school and medical supplies.

Also awaiting shipment were rows of IV poles, walkers, crutches.

Carol DuMont, Jimmy's wife, is in charge of school supplies. Both of them know the operation from Plattsburgh and Nicaragua, as they have traveled with the group multiple times.

"It's very handy knowing both sides," said Joan Riani a retired teacher from Plattsburgh, who has made the trip five or six times herself and lends a regular hand sorting and packing at the warehouse.

GREEN RIBBONS

The last container will be loaded on Wednesday, April 1, with help needed then, too.

All that will remain will be items that aid in preparation of shipments — photocopier, scales, racks of shelving that hold dozens of suitcases used to transport smaller stuff ...

Strips of green plastic ribbon are affixed to everything that won't go to Nicaragua, fluttering messages of hope that a new home will be found soon.


Email Suzanne Moore: smoore@pressrepublican,

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