Kloeckner Helps Rebuild in Haiti
In response to the devastation of Hurricane Matthew last year, Kloeckner Metals donated two 29 gauge 40.875 wide painted metal coils to rebuild structures in Haiti. Those coils were run through the roll former at Metal Panels Inc., a partner in the event, which turned the metal coils into metal roofing panels. The event was spearheaded by Mitch Hentkowski of Metal Panels Inc. who worked with Cross Catholic International to get the building materials where they needed to go.
“I think it is a good cause, especially when you see the end result,” says Ryan Wooldridge Sales Representative at the Tulsa Kloeckner Metals Branch. “It’s just a great humanitarian sight.”
Once the building materials arrived in Haiti, they were put to good use. In total, Cross Catholic International was able to rebuild or repair 260 homes and 20 religious buildings and orphanages. Local parishes serve as a point of distribution and assistance for the poor in the affected areas, and through them over seven million meals were delivered as well.
“It’s an ongoing program that they have,” says Mitch. “People can go online and donate and you can choose to donate to build a home, so whenever they get enough money to build the next home they will do so. Some of the metal that we had sent down was used for that, which ended up reducing the cost of those homes, so then they were able to build more homes.”
Quality building materials like the ones donated by Kloeckner and Metal Panels Inc. are simply not readily available in these poor areas. People will scrounge up whatever they can to make a shelter, whether it is a piece of cardboard or a blue tarp. Eventually, that falls apart, and they have to find something else, creating a constant struggle to keep the shelter intact.
“If you are able to put metal on it, then you’re done,” Mitch says. “Unless it gets blown off during a hurricane or something, they aren’t going to worry about it again. Now, instead of having to worry about staying out of the weather, they can worry about how they are going to feed themselves or how they are going to get water.”
Cross Catholic International recently released a report outlining the charity work in Haiti. The images are stunning. Families that once lived in shelters made of sticks and tarp are now living in permanent homes of concrete and steel.
“It is nice to see that what you’re doing is actually going toward its intended purpose, and is actually making a difference in real people’s lives,” Mitch says. “It changes everything. It changes the whole dynamics of their existence.”
Kloeckner Donates Materials for El Salvador
This past August, Kloeckner again partnered with Metal Panels Inc. and Cross Catholic International to send out another shipment of building materials. This time the materials were destined for the mountainous region of El Salvador, where the rainy season and mudslides make life extremely difficult for the impoverished.
One example of this is a local hospital which was located in a small building. The building was so small that people had to wait outside when they came to the hospital. That means that often people would have to wait out in the rain while sick. Cross Catholic International was able to build a roof around the hospital so that the ill would at least be out of the rain as they waited to get help. This is the type of thing that Kloeckner’s donation will go toward fixing.
“We want to send stuff down for hospitals, schools, churches, and then fill the container with materials for what we’ve been doing, which is shelter repairs,” Mitch says.
Mitch believes that it is important to continue this type of charity work to help those truly in need. He says that Cross Catholic International and organizations like it provide an avenue for ordinary people to provide aid where it will have the biggest impact. Utilizing the logistics that Cross Catholic International has in place, companies like Kloeckner and Metal Panels Inc. can make a huge impact by simply doing what they do every day: providing coils and making metal panels. When combined with other donations of food, water, and medicine coming from companies specializing in those areas, there is a multiplier effect.
“We are able to put shelter over people’s heads, so now they don’t have to worry about that aspect of their lives,” Mitch says. “You start minimizing the effect of those basic needs on their daily lives and now they can maybe send their kids to school. Together, Kloeckner Metals and Metal Panels Inc. are providing Materials for the poor to take care of one of their basic needs: shelter.”