The Good News Project

By: Jonalee Merkel Email
By: Jonalee Merkel Email

When many locals think of the Good News Project, chances are computer recycling comes to mind.

But as it turns out, their electronic recycling program only helps fund what it is the organization really does.

Every month or so, we will let you know when you can deposit your old electronics at the Good News Project's warehouse in Wausau.

But did you know the small fee you pay them to take your junk, is actually helping change lives in the West Indies?

In fact, the people at Good News have been leaving their mark all over St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Dominica, and Grenada for more than a quarter century.

"It all kind of started by accident, I came down to St. Lucia when my brother was working here, came down to do some eye surgery and met some people, liked the island and decided to come back with some friends and do music. So in 1983 they came down and did music workshops for village choirs and met a lot of people doing that," says Chuck MacCarthy, M.D., Good News Project Founder.

He says, "When we got back home, people said to us, well I'd sure like to do that, but I'm not a doctor and I'm not a musician, what would I do?"

Well, the answer was quite simple.

Chuck and his wife Peggy decided if someone had a skill, they could put them to work.

"That's how it all started. Without any master plan or ground plan, it just kind of has grown," MacCarthy says.

Now every January, Good News volunteers from 38 states and 8 countries fly down to the West Indies.

If a volunteer has teaching skills, they are put to work in a school.

They even found use for unusual talents, like wood-turning.

But where Good News found they could make the most difference was by using volunteers' carpentry skills.

To date, they've built 283 homes for the poor and underprivileged on the four Caribbean islands they serve.

But the number of lives they've touched is countless.

Jonalee Merkel spent nearly two weeks following those volunteers as they worked, and saw just how much they're helping some of the poorest West Indians.

And she'll share all the amazing things they're doing in a special series of reports starting Sunday night.

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