26 Sep 2017

First urgent-aid shipment goes soon

The Dubois Charitable Foundation will be sending a container of disaster relief supplies to Cuba on Oct. 14 - woohoo! Thanks VERY MUCH to everyone who has contributed. Will a second shipment of aid be possible? Hope so! Keep those donations coming....


Dubois foundation to ship disaster supplies to Cuba Oct. 14

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, the most devastating storm to strike Cuba in recent years, aid organizations and individuals have been scrambling to provide assistance. On Oct. 14, the Dubois Charitable Foundation (DCF) will be shipping a container packed with humanitarian supplies to the beleaguered island and, if enough donations come in, they hope to send a second one.

Based in Woodstock, Ontario, the DCF has shipped a total of 84 containers of medical and household materials to Cuba, says John Dubois, who founded the organization with wife Marion Dubois in 2001. During one particularly catastrophic year, when a series of hurricanes crisscrossed the island, the DCF sent 11 aid containers to Cuba. “That was kind of over the top for us,” he notes with a chuckle. They usually send less than half that amount annually, and some go to other countries.

On average, it costs approximately $5,000 (CAD) to ship a container to Cuba, which the Dubois family generally pays for out of their own pockets, along with the DCF’s very modest administrative expenses. All monetary donations are used to purchase supplies for filling these large containers. Each shipping container is allowed a maximum of 25,000 kg but, most of the time, the total weight per container is roughly 10-12,000 kg. For disaster relief supplies, however, the weight can quickly add up, John explains, because some building materials, such as metal roofing, are both heavy and compact. If the DCF is able to send a second urgent-aid container, they would likely focus on building materials, most of which would have to be purchased using money donated to the organization.

The first post-Irma shipment will include a lot of household goods, and these donations are pouring in from all parts of the province. “We have some people who are really working hard to collect things,” says John, mentioning groups in Hamilton, Ottawa and the Lindsay area in particular. One family loaded up their station wagon and drove to the DCF depot in Woodstock to deliver donations, including toys the children had chosen to give from their home. Those kids were very proud to be able to help, he notes, and you could see it in their eyes. “The response, over all, has been marvelous,” he says, but adds that, in his experience, donations gradually taper off in the weeks following a disaster. Nonetheless, he remains optimistic that the DCF will be able to ship another container of aid to Cuba this year.

Material donations – clothing and household goods, tools and electrical supplies or any construction items – should be dropped off at the DCF warehouse: 1290 Dundas St., Woodstock, ON  N4S 7V9. Anything that is not sent to Cuba on Oct. 14 will be stored to use for the next shipment.

Monetary donations can be made in either Canadian or U.S. funds. Thanks to an affiliation with a local Woodstock business, credit cards (Visa or MasterCard) are now accepted – call 519-537-5665 during regular business hours, Monday-Friday. Canadian cheques/U.S. checks, money orders or parcels can be sent directly to the Dubois Charitable Foundation: 686681 Highway #2, RR #1, Princeton, ON  N0V 1J0. If sending a parcel from the U.S., the DCF suggests using Federal Express, since their custom brokerage fees are more reasonable. Charitable receipts are available upon request.

To learn more about this not-for-profit group, please visit: www.duboischaritablefoundation.com

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[Media release by Jenny Cressman, www.jennicacuba.com]

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