Helping others, one person at a time….
Don Ray, who authors Chiriquí Chatter, has written a nice article about the foundation’s project, Tom’s valuable assistant Rubi, and has included a number of pictures of the Panamanian and “gringo” volunteers working to unload the container.
Container #15 update:
Container #15 arrived in David on July 2, 2015, and was unloaded by 72 volunteers in approximately an hour. The wheelchairs have been cleaned and those needing repairs will be worked on soon. Several beds (which go out on loan) have been delivered. Some medical equipment has been sent to a local clinic.
Container #15 was loaded June 9, 2015, with the help of over 50 volunteers. We thank each of them for their most valuable assistance.
See the video of the container loading posted under the NEWS tab.
Containers #13 and #14 were shipped in September, 2014.
Contact Tom at
Tom began collecting used children’s clothing and was able to send and distribute over 3000 pounds of clothing to people in need in Chiriqui. He then discovered that women who suffered from breast cancer did not have the resources to obtain breast prostheses or wigs. With the help of volunteers and the tireless work of Roswitha Firth, U.S. donation coordinator, hundreds of prostheses and wigs were collected, hand carried, and distributed. We extend a special thank you to Roswitha’s personal friend, Bärbel Mühlhausen, of Germany, who has made and donated over 800 cancer caps.
From there the project grew into the collection of wheelchairs, crutches, hospital beds, disposable medical supplies, bicycles, and basic household items. In order to facilitate the importing of the donations into Panama, the McCormack Foundation was formed. In 2006 the foundation shipped a 40 foot cargo container of donated goods to Chiriqui and the surrounding areas. In 2008, two more containers followed. The donations were unloaded with the help of U.S. Peace Corps workers and distributed by Tom. Two additional containers were shipped in October of 2009 and another in 2010. Container #7 was shipped on October 4, 2011. The eighth container arrived in Panama on December 17, 2011. Tom receives and personally delivers all donated items to the appropriate recipients. Containers 9, 10, and 11 were loaded and sent on October 10, 2012. See picture gallery for some photos of the loading.
Container #12 was loaded October 9, 2013. Thirty five volunteers loaded the container. A special thank you goes to the JROTC cadets of Ambridge High School for their invaluable assistance; these young people were essential to the loading.
Containers 13 was sent on September 9, 2014 (see NEWS tab for video of loading) followed by Container 14 on September 16, 2014.
Container #12 accompanied by Ruby reached David on November 2 and was promptly unloaded by a group of 43 volunteers into a new warehouse provided by the family of Elias Saldana Palma, who also is the hearing aid technician and is in charge of the wheelchair repair shop.
We want to sincerely thank Mayor Francisco Vigil of David, Panama, for his very valuable assistance in facilitating the import of these humanitarian materials into Panama. The containers enter Panama tax free with the help of the mayor who also provides transportation to deliver the supplies throughout the province.
Updated September 26, 2016