Penn Township women collect items to send to needy in African nation
By Chris Foreman
Published: Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Although Agnes Anderson returns to her Ghana hometown twice a year, she has a year-round passion to collect used clothing and school supplies to ship to the needy in the African nation.
Many of her customers at Same Day Dry Cleaners, the Harrison City shop she's run for 10 years, are unaware she amasses children's apparel, books and adult diapers in the back of the business as she organizes for the next shipment.
Anderson gathers many of the things herself, even buying clothing at thrift shops to put into the packages. She credits a group of five women who learned about the 5-year-old project as being dedicated donors, but Anderson is interested in expanding the effort.
She said she doesn't do it for a tax deduction, and she doesn't ask for cash pledges toward the shipping costs, which can top $1,000 for each of the couple-times-a-year shipments.
It's a small price for Anderson, given that the United Nations reports the gross national income per capita in Ghana is $1,544.
“I want to make (the donation effort) big,” said Anderson, 53, of Monroeville. “I don't want a penny out of it. If I put joy on the children's faces, that's all I want.”
Anderson goes through shipping agencies that send the packages by sea — with deliveries taking six or seven weeks — because it's cheaper than the U.S. Postal Service or privately owned delivery services. She sent the last round of supplies in January, a few weeks in advance of her Feb. 17 trip to Accra, the capital city.
An aspiring nurse who is taking classes as Community College of Allegheny County, Anderson found kindred spirits in donors Kim Pierce, Cindy Gainer, Carrie Rausch, Margaret Monroe and Christine Clark, all of whom live in Penn Township.
Pierce, who has sponsored families in Africa through Women for Women International for 17 years, dropped off about 75 items on Jan. 22.
“We have so much in the United States,” Pierce said. “We're so blessed, and you should give back treasures so someone else can have a better life.”
Gainer said she began helping out after striking up a conversation with Anderson about a drought in one African country. An author of five children's books, Gainer donated copies of one book, “Fish Friends,” and several educational posters featuring her artwork.
Gainer said she saw a fit in helping the children in Ghana, and was floored when Anderson's sister, Marian Kwayke, called long-distance to thank her for the donations to the schools.
The World Bank estimates that 30 percent of Ghanaian children suffer from chronic malnutrition or stunting, which is being too short for an age.
“(Agnes is) easy to talk to,” Gainer said. “It wasn't hard for me to want to help her and her family and the children of Ghana.
“It's very fulfilling to know that some small thing I did here can aid somebody so far away.”
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘Huge shock’ from prevailing-wage cost for Penn-Trafford
- Franklin Regional tragedy prompts Penn-Trafford to review safety plans
- Penn-Trafford rallies to support rival after crisis
- Penn Township picks Latrobe manager to replace Light