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February 2009
By Liam Carstens

The last week of February, I was able to travel to Jamaica to tour the operations of some of Brother’s Brother Foundation’s long-standing partners. Food for the Poor (FFTP) has worked with BBF in Jamaica for many years.

In 2008, BBF and FFTP distributed over $161 million in donated pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and books. It was an exhausting, whirlwind tour of medical, educational and humanitarian projects that have been supported by donations from BBF and it was worth every minute. The opportunity to witness the distribution and utilization of medicine, hospital equipment, books and shoes donated by BBF was an invaluable experience that has already helped the way that I think about BBF’s donation programs.

In Kingston, I was taken to a range of hospitals and clinics that are supplied with some of our donations by our partner, Food for the Poor. We toured all types of medical facilities, from small clinics like the Hagley Park Health Centre, to large hospitals like Kingston Public Hospital, which receives referrals from throughout the English speaking Caribbean. In addition, I was able to tour specialist hospitals like National Chest Hospital, Bellevue Hospital and the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

In every hospital, clinic and elderly home visited, I was able to speak with at least one official from the hospital who conveyed his or her needs and wishes. I was also able to witness the distribution of pharmaceuticals to the patients, which was great to see. I truly appreciated seeing the bags and bottles of an individual prescription being filled; this was a contrast to the pallets of pharmaceuticals that we handle in our warehouse in Pittsburgh.

While I was predominantly in Kingston, I did get a chance to travel out to Clarendon Parish and visit with representatives of JAMALCO, a Jamaican subsidiary of ALCOA which has been receiving books for the children and adults of Jamaica for over twenty years. I was lucky to tour various basic, primary and secondary schools that had received books from BBF’s book program. I am happy to report that principals and librarians (as well as students) were eager to show their appreciation, and also gently reminded me that there is always more work to be done.

BBF is a 56-year old Pittsburgh-based international charity with a newly opened warehouse in Fairfax, Virginia.  BBF has provided over 100,000 tons of medical supplies, textbooks, food, seeds, and other humanitarian supplies to people around the world in over 140 countries.  With the help of gifts from the general public, corporations and foundations, in 2013 BBF sent product contributions to those in need in 64 countries.  These shipments were the equivalent of 252 tractor trailer loads.  Also in 2013, BBF provided supplies for 321 medical and humanitarian hand-carry mission trips.  Within the last month the Virginia warehouse assisted with supplies for two containers to the affected countries in Africa.

Forbes Magazine highlighted BBF as one of only three charities with a 100% rating for both fundraising efficiency and charitable commitment of the 50 largest charities reviewed in November 2013.  The Better Business Bureau continues to give BBF its “Wise Giving Alliance Standards” seal of approval.  BBF achieved a 4-star rating for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency from Charity Navigator. 

Donations to assist with shipping costs are greatly appreciated. Credit card donations can be made by calling Brother's Brother Foundation at 412-321-3160. Checks should be made out to Brother's Brother Foundation and sent to:
Brother's Brother Foundation
1200 Galveston Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15233

For additional information, please contact:
Karen Dempsey, Vice President Development/Administration

Luke Hingson, President

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