Jim and Judy Oberstein
In the wake of Hurricane Matthew this fall, the first category five Atlantic hurricane since 2007, it left a devastating effect in the country of Haiti. Those in Haiti still have many needs, and among them are pails, so that they can be used deliver clean drinking water.
Upon hearing this, Jim Oberstein and his wife Judy thought they would take initiative. The Oberstein’s worked with the Orphan Grain Train, a network of Christian volunteers that helps ship donated food, clothing, medical supplies and other helpful materials to those who are in need.
“We approached our pastors and then got approval from Orphan Grain Train in Westfield, the headquarters, and they said by all means go for it,” Jim Oberstein said of the project’s start. “We put together some introductory letters for churches in the community [and] we have put together some presentations to some of the local businesses in town who we would hope donate some corporate pails.”
The Oberstein’s have worked with Orphan Grain Train for about two years, and Judy Oberstein was recently elected to the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin branch. Jim says this is the first time they’ve been able to spearhead a venture like this together for a great cause.
“This is a mission that we really believe in,” said Oberstein. “We have a passion for it. It’s something just really positive to work for. All of our churches need a real good positive thing, and this is our outlet to give back to the community, to the church, and to other people we can help serve.”
Jim adds they have a shipment departing for Haiti in February that will be carrying much needed supplies.
“We have about 300 boxes right now ready to go of clothing and by February we’ll have probably another maybe 200 or 300 more, so we’ll have a full shipment going out in February.”
What many may not realize is the necessity that these pails bring to the villages of Haiti. Oberstein says he believes they’re the biggest priority, in terms of items that are needed.
“The need clean drinking water and if you’ve seen pictures of disasters, everything is just devastated,” explained Oberstein. “They walk for miles up into the mountain areas to get water and bring back to the villages, so these pails are essential, as well as really necessary to help stop the spread of Cholera and any other diseases from contaminated water, or all of the debris that comes with a Hurricane Matthew that they are trying to recover from.”
Those that have pails to donate can do so by dropping them off at St. James church Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., or by contacting Jim or Judy at home at the number (715) 201-0283 and they will make arrangements to pick them up.
The Oberstein’s are looking for clean, five-gallon pails, that are asked to be new or slightly used. Right now, they are reaching out to the church communities throughout the area and hope to eventually collect 5,000 for their cause.