In 2020, Mano a Mano’s Twin Cities’ volunteers picked up more than 150,000 pounds of medical supplies and equipment, office furniture, tools, spare parts, and almost anything else our counterparts in Bolivia need in order to accomplish their work.
Our First Truck Was a Wooden Trailer
Making this essential activity happen every year is no easy matter. When we started 25+ years ago, we picked up everything – from boxes of supplies to hospital beds and dental chairs – in a used single-axle wooden trailer. This humble “I know I can” trailer served the purpose (marginally) for six years, until a donated van replaced it.
In 2014 we had the opportunity to purchase a used 16’ truck, a diligent workhorse which finally reached the point of requiring repairs that cost more than its value.
This month, we purchased a used 26’ Freightliner box truck in excellent condition. Because it can be parked flush with our loading dock, we no longer have to wrap chains around pallets and drag them up and out of our previous truck; we can use a pallet jack and then a forklift for unloading, a much safer and less time-consuming process. And the Freightliner can carry twice as many pounds as the truck it replaced, and cut the number of trips we make to one location in half (in the past, we would regularly have to make multiple trips to a location to be able to pick up everything). It also only needs a normal driver’s license to drive – although it is large and takes some getting used to!
We purchased this truck from MATTER, one of our local, long-time partner organizations. MATTER often shares items with Mano a Mano that have been donated to them but that they don’t need, and we do the same. So, in addition to selling us the truck at a very reasonable price, they “threw in” 20 hospital mattresses, 100,000 patient foot coverings, several pediatric wheelchairs, and pallets of medical supplies. We will send these supplies to Bolivia, where they are distributed to people & organizations in need throughout the country.