Our school supply container is on its way to Guate


Group shot of staff and volunteers who helped load the pallet. Not pictured, Tom Blindt who saved the day by bringing us a new dock plate.

As many of you know, in July we launched our first-ever national school supply drive with the goal of collecting enough supplies to fill a 20-foot container, or approximately 10 pallets. This exciting opportunity to ship a container was made possible thanks in part to our friends at Hope Haven International, who generously offered to fully coordinate the shipment of the container to Guatemala.

We are happy to report that we did in fact reach our goal! On Tuesday, October 14, we loaded all 10 pallets into the container, which is now on its way to Guatemala. To give you an idea of the scope of this project, each pallet was approximately 6 feet tall, 4 feet wide, and 4 feet deep. After everything was said and done, the total weight of the supplies was 13,761 pounds! Here are some other outstanding numbers we’d like to share:

  • 20,332 pencils were collected
  • 8,238 notebooks were collected
  • 164 individuals donated school supplies
  • 14 businesses, churches, and schools collected supplies on our behalf

It’s truly humbling to look at these numbers and reflect on the fact that none of this would have been possible without the support of our generous donors. We appreciate each and every one of you who hosted supply drives, made trips to the store, or shipped supplies to our office from afar. Each day, we waited eagerly for deliveries, and when they came, it was like Christmas morning with each box that was unpacked.

Bob Karlstrand making final preparations before loading day.

Bob Karlstrand making final preparations before loading day.

We would be remiss if we didn’t also take this opportunity to thank our volunteers. Every week, we saw new and old faces in the warehouse counting, sorting, and packing supplies. Organizing pallets for a shipping container is no easy feat, but we are fortunate to have veteran volunteers like Jerry Wisdorf and Bob Karlstrand to help oversee the process. Bob is a very special friend to Common Hope, and we’d like to recognize all of his hard work on this project.

For several months, Bob has been battling serious health complications due to cancer treatment. Though his health has been waning, his spirit and generosity certainly have not. Week after week, Bob has been in the warehouse packing pallets, expertise he has gained over the 13 years he’s been volunteering with Common Hope.

Long-time volunteers Bob Karlstrand and Jerry Wisdorf have helped Common Hope pack and ship many pallets over the years

Long-time volunteers Bob Karlstrand and Jerry Wisdorf have helped Common Hope pack and ship many pallets over the years

Since 2001, Bob has given his time and his talents to support Common Hope’s mission in various ways. He worked as a construction volunteer in Guatemala twice–once for a period lasting six months. He has helped the organization pack and ship 7-8 containers, some of which were full, 40-foot containers holding 20+ pallets. He has also been in the warehouse on a weekly basis helping wherever it is needed most.

Thank you, Bob, for all that you have done to support children and families in Guatemala.



Below is a gallery of photos from loading day and some taken over the last three months. We wish we had pictures of everyone, but we sincerely thank all of you who helped make this possible!


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