“Changing lives and protecting the environment, one gallon of paint at a time.”
That’s the mission of Global Paint for Charity, an Atlanta-based volunteer group that is dedicated to recycling discarded and unwanted paint in the U.S., reprocessing it, and distributing it to refurbish homes and communities in developing countries around the world.
Photos: Global Paint for Charity
|Global Paint for Charity, founded by Rony Delgarde, ships up to 500 gallons of paint at a time to seaports in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Haiti, Cambodia and Mexico.|
In just over two years, the organization has sent up to 500 gallons of paint at a time to seaports in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Haiti, Cambodia and Mexico. The group has organized numerous paint-collection drives and has many more in the pipeline.
The organization’s work has also led to partnerships with the Salvation Army, Goodwill, The Home Depot, Sherwin-Williams and waste management agencies in the Atlanta area.
For Global Paint founder Rony Delgarde, a Haitian immigrant, the vision is “to give others in developing countries a home and community they can be proud of.”
“When I left the political chaos and economic trials in Haiti 10 years ago with only $5 and a Holy Bible in my pocket, I knew it would be my life's work to improve the lives of those less fortunate around the world,” Delgarde says on his website.
“I've learned over the years that the most gratifying way to give back is to be anonymous and selfless. It is the way that all of us can help our fellow citizens of the world.
“And the Global Paint for Charity was created to do just that.”
The organization’s mission is to “change lives, transform communities, and protect the environment one gallon of paint at a time.”
Seeking ‘Any Can, Gallon and Bucket’
Delgarde says the group needs a “good amount of paint” to stay afloat.
“On average, it takes about 2,000 gallons of half- or ¾-full containers of leftover paint to get 300 to 500 gallons of good or better paint,” he said.
Thus, Global Paint will “happily take any can, gallon and bucket containers of latex or oil paint, regardless of the amount, the age or the condition.”
Once the paints are donated, they are screened by volunteers for undesirable particles; sorted by similar characteristics, colors, and types; and then blended into a final product.
The paint is then shipped to regions in Africa, Caribbean and Central America with the assistance of various non-profits, church groups, and corporate partners, Delgarde said.
|The organization processes donations to help paint hospitals, schools, churches and prisons in developing countries.|
Donated paint that cannot be used is disposed of, but all of the containers, metal or plastic, are recycled and kept out of landfills, Delgarde said.
'Nothing Left to Spend on Paint'
For the recipients, the donated paint fulfills a critical need.
In some countries served by the organization, vegetables and fruits are often used to make an ersatz “paint” because people can’t afford to buy commercial-quality products.
“Over 2.5 billion people live on less than $2 a day,” Delgarde said. “For them, paint is very expensive. When making consumption choices that involve spending money on basic needs, there is nothing left to spend on paint.
“People are already starving, so they should not have to use their food resources to beautify their homes and communities.”
The U.N. Human Settlements Program estimates that more than 1.6 billion residents of developing countries are living with substandard homes, unpainted schools, refugee camps or prisons, and hospitals with dirt walls and lack of sanitation.
A fresh coat of paint on walls, roofs and floors not only brightens a structure’s appearance and lifts the spirit of the community; it can also protect exteriors and interiors from heavy bacterial objects, virus, diseases and temperature changes, experts say.
Global Paint hopes to find more organizations and corporations to help address the paint shortage in developing countries.
Said Delgarde: “If we can partner with more organizations, we’ll be more efficient and more sustainable with what we’re doing,”
To learn more about Global Paint for Charity, visit www.globalpaints.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.