Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners collects mattresses for hurricane victims

Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 6:36 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners is an organization that allows its members to help Nicaraguans and engage in cultural exchange. One of the volunteers recently coordinated a donation of 500 mattresses to be sent to victims of last year’s hurricanes.

“I’ve seen the difficult circumstances that people live in and that’s part of the reason I accepted these mattresses because I knew that they would got to places that they were really needed and there’s nothing more gratifying than to be able to get something where it’s needed most,” said Executive Director Amy Wiza.

The organization has a long history of helping provide items to their less fortunate counterparts.

“We’ve sent down from the city of Stevens Point generous donations from the community of sewing machines, wheelchairs, bicycles. . .” said Stevens Point Mayor Mike Wiza.

500 mattresses is a lot to handle on short notice, but they would otherwise have gone to the landfill. Mayor Wiza credits Amy with the massive amount of work required to get them from Green Bay to Stevens Point.

“I didn’t know until this very morning that everything was going to come together and we were going to have them at the warehouse and now we need people to move this stuff,” he said.

“Just last night Plainfield Trucking offered this semi-trailer because I was thinking about our space in the warehouse. We really don’t have enough for all these mattresses because then we wouldn’t have enough for all the other items that come in like sewing machines, fabric, firefighting equipment, school supplies, sports equipment, bicycles’” Amy said.

Wisconsin Nicaragua Partners also runs education centers in the country to help the people learn trade skills to help them support themselves. They also make usable household items from repurposed materials.

“We have a couple different companies that have donated the pallets that they can make the bed frames for, so in addition to the pallets being used for the shipping purposes, they’re going to be a bed frame,” Amy said.

The mattresses were originally used as displays in retail stores. They were shortened by a foot to allow people to see inside, but are otherwise unused. The group has volunteers in Nicaragua sewing special mattress covers for the donations, but Amy says that’s not all they need.

“We’d love for people to join in this project by donating sheets if they have any. Ideally, they’d be twin-size sheets but really we can take any size and they’d accommodate them accordingly,” she said.

The Air Force helps transport the donations to their destination, but it depends when they have vehicles sufficiently large to carry them. It benefits both groups. The Air Force can use the runs as training exercises, and the Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners gets to help those in need.

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