Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Heading for the dock of the bay

Pop in the Willie Nelson CD, because we are on the road again today! This time we're prepping for our Sept. 8-10 soap distribution in Cap Haitien, Haiti.


We have 200,000 bars of soap packed into a 26-foot truck donated for the day by our buddies at Penske Truck Rental, and we are pointing the rig south from Orlando on our way to the Port of Miami. A big shout-out to the Penske folks, who offered to hook us up with a truck whenever we need to move product. Today’s donation is a $300 value!


No maps or GPS are needed for us to find Miami, by the way, because we navigate by GCS -- the Global Cuban Sandwich system. The guys in that truck can't wait to drop off the load and chow down on a really great Cuban before heading back to Orlando.


It's all about the bread, you know. You’ve GOT to have the right bread for a good Cuban sandwich.


Speaking of bread -- we are on a squeaky tight budget here at Clean the World, so once the guys get to the docks they will trade out the "trucker" hat for the "salesman" hat and do a little negotiating to get us the best possible rate on shipping. We have a contact at one of the Haitian shipping companies who is waiting for us, but we still need to work out a better deal once we arrive at the docks. So a little prayer and some good thoughts from y'all on that matter would be greatly appreciated.


By the way, we're also including 250 pounds of lotion with this shipment. We didn't realize it the first time we went to Cap Haitien, but lotion is another valuable commodity in Haiti due to the effects of the intense heat.


Once this shipment reaches Cap Haitien, it will be picked up by our Haitian brother Pastor Julio Brutus of the First Haitian Church of the Nazarene in Winter Haven, Fla. Pastor Brutus will stash the soap in a safe place until CBS News accompanies us to Cap Haitien on Sept. 8 for two days of soap and lotion distribution. This time we will return to the site of the first distribution, Tabernacle of Praise Church, as well as a hospital, the two orphanages we visited last time, and a couple of new orphanages.


After spending the last month or so on a lot of boring, behind-the-scenes business, we are excited to get the distribution machine cranked up again for another trip to Haiti.


I'll have plenty of updates for you in the coming weeks, and then you can see it all from your living room when the story airs on "CBS Evening News with Katie Couric" after we return from Cap Haitien. Keep checking back so I can let you know exactly when it runs.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Clean the World in the Big Apple!

Our news story that ran locally in Orlando is being run in New York tonight, August 7 on FOX 5. This is big exposure for our cause. If you are in New York, look for it on the 5pm news!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

FedEx helps CTW get off the ground

Transporting soap is pretty easy. Right?

After all – it’s light, compact and easy to pack.

Well, I guess that’s true if we wanted to carry a hundred bars to a different part of the world. I could fit that much in a carry-on. Each bar weighs around 4 ounces, so that would be about 25 pounds. OK … so what about a thousand bars? Well, it might be a bit more challenging, but 250 pounds of soap could fit into three or four good-sized suitcases.

But what do you do when you want to move a million bars of soap into Haiti, The Philippines or Sri Lanka? Now we’re talking about 250,000 pounds. That’s 125 tons! To put it in perspective, that is equal to the amount of chicken fingers and grilled-cheese sandwiches my kids eat in a year!

Hmmm, I might need to do some more calculations and put together a few spreadsheets before I can verify that number. But I think you get my drift.

With 125 tons of soap I can’t just walk up to the airline counter at check-in and tell them I have a few extra bags. This is serious freight, folks.

Enter our new friend and angel Lisa Daniel from FedEx. Lisa is arranging for us to receive the “gift of shipping” for some major airlifts of soap into parts of the world that desperately need it. First up is our “Million Bars of Soap for Hope” delivery into Cap Haitien, Haiti, and more distribution trips are in the pipeline.

Lisa also introduced us to some of her colleagues at FedEx who are working on a program to help with the transportation of soap from our partner hotels to our recycling plant in Orlando.

This simple little idea of saving lives with partially used bars of hotel soap actually has a lot of moving parts. But little by little the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fit. And it gets even easier when you find great partners like FedEx!