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Tuesday, Jun 25, 2024
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Local Firms Send Supplies to Earthquake Victims

Soon after an earthquake shattered El Salvador earlier this month, killing thousands and leaving many more thousands homeless, several San Diego-area companies and a locally based health organization sprang into action.

Last week, PriceSmart Inc., an operator of warehouse stores mostly in the Caribbean and in Central America, and Innovative Medical Systems, based in El Cajon, joined forces with Project Concern, a health organization based here, and Direct Relief International, based in Santa Barbara, in a direct relief flight to that devastated region.

“We have friends we’ve made there, and have employees on the ground (in two warehouse stores) and we feel we should do the best we can to help them,” said Tom Martin, PriceSmart’s senior vice president in speaking about the company’s quick response.

Because of the firm’s established distribution lines and communications in the nation, the medicine, water filters, blankets, and building supplies were able to get to the people who needed it within hours, said PriceSmart CEO Gil Partida, who made the trip. PriceSmart arranged for the flight and donated $50,000 through the Price Charities, the philanthropic arm of the Price Family.

“We’ll use that money in-country where the funds will go much farther to buy much needed supplies such as water, food, blankets and building supplies,” said Project Concern spokeswoman Paula Danzig.

PriceSmart, a spin-off from the old Price Club, is also reducing its prices on essential foodstuffs such as milk, rice, eggs, oil and chicken and making the commodities available to club members and non members.

When the El Salvadoran government contacted IMS’s distributor in Costa Rica, the company helped, shipping an initial supply of 2,000 bottles of its liquid water purification formula, and following that up with another 8,000 bottles, valued at about $30,000.

IMS’s product, Axenohl, eliminates bacteria and turns contaminated water into safe usable water without any change to taste or odor, the company said.

The firms working with Project Concern helped get the relief supplies to the Salvadorans that much quicker. The organization has been around for about 40 years and has been involved in Central America for the last 20 years.

The grass roots, nonprofit health organization, with about 8,000 volunteers in 10 countries and the United States, is aimed at improving the lives of children and providing access to clean water and nutritious food, Danzig said.

Once the organization delivers such emergency relief supplies as food, water and basic health care items, Project Concern also helps communities rebuild their roads, water systems and housing.

Project Concern is accepting cash donations for Salvadoran relief via its Web site at (www.projectconcern.org), or by mail at 3550 Afton Road, San Diego, CA 92123.

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