When Cancer Care Ontario wanted to refurbish its offices with Allsteel, Inc. furniture, the Canadian cancer services agency preferred to find a new home and more sustainable solution for the used furnishings it was replacing instead of sending them to a landfill. Summerlee Office Solutions, the Allsteel dealer responsible for the new sale, found the answer, albeit unexpected, thousands of miles away: four schools in Belize that were in desperate need of supplies and furniture.
Summerlee was able to find the schools thanks to Green Solutions North America, Inc., a Nova Scotia-based organization dedicated to repurposing and recycling used office furnishings and supplies. Through Green Solutions and its School in a Box program, Summerlee loaded a 40 foot container with Cancer Care’s castoffs plus various supplies and donations from others, and shipped it to the Cayo District of Belize, a rural area of farmlands and rugged mountains. But the donation didn’t just supply furnishings for the needy school children. The holiday season came early for 75 kids who also received backpacks filled with school supplies and an American dollar, courtesy of Summerlee and Allsteel.
The project, which began a year ago, involved more than 100 hours of volunteer time from the Summerlee staff, with added help from Allsteel’s Market Manager for Ontario, Peter Livingstone. Summerlee also covered the shipping costs for the project.
“Working with Summerlee and Green Solutions on this project was truly rewarding, and it’s great that Allsteel now has its own active partnership with Green Solutions,” Livingstone said. “It’s fantastic to witness how we can have a positive impact not only on the environment but also in extending a helping hand to our fellow man.”
This past fall, Allsteel became the first American manufacturer to officially partner with Green Solutions North America, Inc., having had the direct experience with the Belize project.