By JEROD CLAPP
NEW ALBANY — A family in Belize will have a roof over their heads thanks to a donation from a business nearly 1,500 miles away.
Northern Continental Logistics, a New Albany-based company, gave $6,250 to Hand in Hand Ministries to build its 200th house with the added bonus of some plumbing and electricity.
Charles Harrett, president of the company, said giving to the community is a value they embrace.
“We try to develop a culture of service and giving with all of our employees,” Harrett said. “I know at Christmastime, it’s been customary to give gifts to your clients, but what we’ve done is donated to specific charities in the name of our clients.”
He said after hearing about the Louisville-based charity from other colleagues in industry, he thought it would be a good fit for a donation.
Marla Cautilli, CEO of Hand in Hand Ministries, said the home will be a simple structure, 16 feet by 16 feet. Normally, she said the volunteers she recruits just build the structure without either amenity for $4,000, with volunteers often footing the bill.
“We don’t do it very often, typically $4,000 covers the building cost of the homes,” Cautilli said. “The families will sometimes add plumbing and sometimes not, but we’re so delighted that Charlie’s company stepped up because we’re going to build this house with plumbing and electricity in a week.
She said after her crew finishes the outer structure in a week’s time, a local plumber and electrician will do their work after Hand in Hand leaves.
Typically, the homes house three to five people and Cautilli said her charity will build 22 homes in Belize this year. But after the houses are built and families move in, she said the act of giving perpetuates in the area they’ve volunteered.
She said families team together and form their own fundraisers to help their neighbors build their own homes as well.
“It’s built in conjunction with the family,” Cautilli said. “Part of that giving-back philosophy that we want to encourage over there has really taken root now that we’re getting ready to build our 200th house.”
Harrett said his workers are glad they can contribute to a good cause.
“Our employees are excited about,” Harrett said. “They’re really thrilled to be part of an organization that gives back to the community. If we do have the capability of doing that, we feel it’s a privilege to do so.”