Contact Tom at
115 Reesman Drive
Aliquippa, PA 15001
Panama cel 507-6760-3439
began working in Chiriqui, the westernmost
province of Panama, in 1994 through the United States Government Farmer to Farmer Program, using his expertise as a Master Beekeeper to assist Panamanian beekeepers in becoming more productive. While working there, Tom saw the need in the less fortunate areas of western Panama for items
that are simply discarded in the United States.
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 400 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.
The last six containers were facilitated with the help of Vice Mayor Rito Barrett (David, Panama) and distribution coordinator Ruby Cianca. Thank you to all of the volunteers in the United States and Panama working together for the collection and distribution of goods for the benefit of the neediest families in Panama.
A very special thank you to Gene Pash, President of Value Ambridge Properties, Ambridge, PA, for donating warehouse space for storage of donated equipment and to Marco Gruelle, Export Manager of D.T. Gruelle Co. of Moon Township, PA, for donating time and expertise and shipping expenses for transporting the two 2011 containers to Panama.
A very sincere thank you goes to the volunteers in Pennsylvania who helped to collect, transport, pack, and load the donations and to the volunteers in Panama who helped unload, store, and distribute the items. These hundreds of volunteers are the backbone of this project.
Container #12 was loaded October 9, 2013, and will arrive in Panama October 22. 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.
Container #12 reached David on November 2 and was promptly unloaded by a group of 43 volunteers.
Updated November 5, 2013