SHU Sends Furniture to Guatemala

Written by: Elisha Brown
Contributing Writer

This past summer, Sacred Heart University donated hundreds of pieces of furniture to those in need in Guatemala.

Every year, at least one of the residential halls at Sacred Heart disposes of their old furniture to make room for new pieces. Instead of filling landfills with more waste, Sacred Heart has found a way to help those in need.

From Elizabeth Ann Seton residence hall, Sacred Heart donated just over 3,500 pieces of furniture to Guatemala through an organization called Asset 360.

Asset 360 is an environmental non-profit organization that aims to maximize their capacity to provide worldwide aid to communities in need around the U.S. and the developing world.

“The Asset 360 staff have shipped more than 3,500 sea containers to more than 40 developing countries and more than 30 US states in support of humanitarian relief programs as well as disaster relief efforts. These shipments include no longer needed furnishings, fixtures and supplies from higher education facilities, K-12 public school systems, medical complexes, corporate and manufacturing facilities and many others,” said Mark Berry, President of Asset 360.

Asset 360 works with numerous public or private institutions, one being colleges and universities, and pairs them with one of their humanitarian relief organizations to provide worldwide aid.

“In Guatemala, almost eight in ten citizens live in poverty with nearly 50% living in abject poverty conditions, earning less than $1.50 per day for their families.  Almost half of its citizens are illiterate and the same percentage live without clean water.  This places tremendous strain on families to provide for their children and many of these families or forced to relinquish their children to residential facilities that are able to care for them,” said Berry.

“If we want to be responsible with the resources that we have, disposing of it is not the most responsible to do it because there are people in need who can benefit from it. The problem is, we didn’t have the resources to get the materials into the hands of the people that need it,” said Joel Quintong, Director of Sacred Heart University Residential Life

“Joel was the catalyst to getting the company to come and donate the items. We try to donate items locally and have worked with the Habitat for Humanity Restore in the past, but it is tough for groups to take large quantities of items.  He felt Asset 360 were in line with our mission ‘to promote the common good and to serve others, especially the poor and suffering,’” said Gregory Madrid, Assistant Director of Residential Life.

“Asset 360 has been seeking campus clients like Sacred Heart University to increase our annual shipments of reusable durable goods through a network of recipient partners worldwide to desperately needy communities.  Our choice of Guatemala as the destination for the 20 sea containers sent from Sacred Heart University was due to the perfect match of available furnishings from the campus with the requested needs of a residential school facility in El Rosario, Guatemala,” said Berry

Through Asset 360, Sacred Heart was able to donate used desks, chairs, dressers, bed frames, mattresses and wardrobes to Guatemala.

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