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Gateway2Give-Win/Win Project

Posted on: December 17, 2013 10:00 am

In October 2013, the Sisters of Notre Dame’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission launched a project in conjunction with the organization Engineers Without Borders. The goal was to collect used purses, shoes, duffel bags and backpacks to raise money for two water projects for the SND mission in Uganda, East Africa.

The Sisters worked with a St. Louis-based organization called Gateway2Give Clean Water Mission. This company pays an organization a certain amount per pound for the items they collect. The items collected are then sold to exporters for affordable sale in developing countries as a catalyst to grow local microbusinesses and local economies. “The arrangement is a win/win situation for both groups,” said Sister Mary Lea Paolucci, SND, who coordinated the project for the Covington, KY, province. She went on to say, “The items we collected were transformed into cash, while used purses, shoes, and backpacks stayed out of local landfills.”

Besides the Covington province, Sisters from the Toledo province also participated in the project. Money they collected went toward their mission in Peten, Guatemala. Sister Frances Marie Penwell coordinated the project for the Toledo, OH, province while Sister Marie Kathleen Hood was the contact person for the Ft. Wayne, IN, area.
Both provinces teamed up with local schools, and parishes to help in collecting items for the project. Students, parents, teachers, and parishioners all participated. Several sisters even used social media sites to spread the word about the project.

In early December, a 14-foot box truck came to the Sisters of Notre Dame Provincial Center to pick up all the items donated. At the end of the project 4600 pounds of shoes, purses, and backpacks were collected, which brought in $2,162.00 for the Uganda water projects. Sister Paolucci recalled one of the donations with special sentiment. “A group of moms, former students of a Harlan, KY, grade school where Notre Dame sisters taught, drove a total of eight hours to deliver their collection, eager to help and grateful for the sisters,” said Sister Paolucci.

The project was a grand success. Money received from this project will go towards purchasing a concrete water storage tank and materials for a water purification system. Engineers from the organization Engineers Without Borders will be spearheading the final phase of the project which will be working on the water purification system that will be put in the village of Buseesa Uganda, East Africa.

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