Since 2016, Metal Panels Inc. (MPI, www.metalpanelsinc.com) has partnered with Cross Catholic Outreach (www.crosscatholic.org) to get surplus materials such as metal panels, fasteners and accessories into the hands of struggling families impacted by hurricanes and floods in Central America and the Caribbean.
So far, MPI, with the help of industry partners, has shipped 24 truckloads of materials to the needy, and according to MPI founder and president Mitchell Hentkowski, the need is far greater.
“I believe there are many business owners like me who want to do something for those in need. However, the daunting task of moving materials from your business into countries that most need it, will cause them to decide that it can’t be done.”
That’s where Cross Catholic Outreach comes in. The nonprofit ministry includes dedicated specialists experienced with the ins and outs of international shipping. The charity also has an extensive network of in-country partners around the world who know local community needs and can distribute donated materials.
Through the coordination of Cross Catholic Outreach, MPI and other manufacturers in the US have a way of offering a helping hand that can be an easy and straightforward process. When MPI has built up enough inventory for a truckload (by volume and weight) they simply contact Cross Catholic Outreach to schedule a pick up. At the set time, the ministry’s flatbed tractor-trailer arrives and is loaded, and the responsibility for coordinating delivery – containers, travel, customs, taxes, and distribution – are transferred to Cross Catholic Outreach. Truckloads leaving Tulsa arrive at the international port of choice, where the loads are containerized, and shipped to destination ports in Central America or the Caribbean.
From humble beginnings in 2001, Cross Catholic Outreach has grown significantly, and is celebrating a $3 billion-plus impact on poverty in this anniversary year. Its reach extends from Central and South America through the Caribbean to parts of Africa and Southeast Asia, touching thousands of lives by meeting basic needs for food, safe water, educational opportunities, shelter, and spiritual support.