Terminally ill cancer patients at the Vitas House in St. James, Trinidad and Tobago are resting a little easier thanks to an in-kind grant provided by the “PriceSmart Communities” donation program. The program has provided 824 in-kind grants since 2007 to non-profits operating in one of 33 communities served by PriceSmart warehouse clubs in Aruba, Barbados, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. PriceSmart warehouse managers recommend non-profits working in the areas of education, foster and elderly care, nutrition, and healthcare, to receive $1,000 worth of basic needs merchandise from PriceSmart warehouse shelves. The program is administered and funded by Price Philanthropies.
This year Vitas House is one of 161 non-profits receiving merchandise to support its work providing end of life care to cancer patients. Vitas House Medical Director and Chairman Dr. J. Sabga said the food and cleaning supplies it selected at PriceSmart in Port of Spain “have made a huge impact on both the staff and patients of Vitas House.”
Like the Vitas House, the Fundación Pro Jóvenes con Parálisis Cerebral is a small non-profit serving low-income clients and relies on donations to operate. The organization provides meals and educational and social support for people afflicted with cerebral palsy. The organization’s president, Mayra Urena Rojas, wrote Price Philanthropies to say, “From our heart we are grateful for your generous donation that has been a blessing to our forgotten community, but with your generous heart you showed us that there are still people and companies that still care.” Fundación Pro Jóvenes con Paralisis Cerebral operates in a small town outside of San José, Costa Rica.
Mitch Zychowski, a businessman from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, operates the Feed My Sheep non-profit organization in Los San Miguel, Costa Rica, a small village in the jungle. Zychowski says the PriceSmart Communities program has been critical in providing chicken, beef, and fish to the 500 Costa Rican youth he feeds five days a week, 52 weeks a year. In total, Feed My Sheep will provide more than 100,000 hot meals to kids this year at two small churches. Zychowski says that without the provided meals, the kids wouldn’t eat anything all day. It gives him “a purpose to be on this earth,” Zychowski says of his work to feed the hungry.
The Fundación Niños Limpiabotas La Merced in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, is a place for youth 7-17 years old to develop socially, artistically, athletically, and theatrically. The program recruits youth spotted on the streets shining shoes during school hours to go to school instead, providing after school tutoring and enrichment programs as an incentive. To replace the family’s lost shoe shining income, the foundation provides monthly care packages of clothing, food, and school materials provided through the PriceSmart Communities program.
In Valle de Ángeles, Honduras, more than 80 kids living on an orphanage farm eat pancakes, beans, rice, and spaghetti provided by PriceSmart in the nearby capital city, Tegucigalpa. In Guatemala, the executive director of Fundación FARES Para Niños Con Cáncer says kids might abandon their chemotherapy if not for the food, eating utensils, and cleaning supplies provided by PriceSmart Miraflores to the cancer treatment and recovery center.
Whether it’s senior citizens in Colombia or preschoolers in El Salvador, what recipients of the PriceSmart Communities donation program all have in common is a need for the basic necessities. The program began in 2007 at the direction of PriceSmart Founder and Chairman of the Board Robert Price to bolster the work of non-profits working in areas served by PriceSmart warehouses. Funding and administration comes from Price Philanthropies, founded by Sol Price and headquartered in San Diego, California.