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Paint, Delgarde says, is a scarcity in places like his native
"You can't get enough even to paint your home," he said the other day.
And that, he said, is why he founded Global Paint for Charity, a nonprofit organization that collects leftover paint free of charge and, instead of tossing it into landfills, uses it for good.
He first organized the charity in 2010 but, in truth, Global Paint was born more than a decade ago as Delgarde rode a bus from
There on the highway he spied a road crew re-painting the yellow and white lines that delineate traffic, and he was appalled. Painting the road seemed like such a waste.
"I couldn't believe my eyes," he said.
In fact, Delgarde, a resident of
What a difference those discarded half-empty or less cans and buckets of paint could make, he thought, if he could just collect, reprocess and donate them to needy individuals, families and organizations in developing countries around the world.
Years would pass after that first sighting of crews painting the road. Delgarde would go on with his life, working as a health care consultant and volunteering in the community.
His thoughts seldom turned to collecting paint anymore until a visit to
There the thought revisited him: "What if?" Back home he shared his idea with friends.
"They laughed," Delgarde said.
No one will donate paint, they told him. It's too expensive.
He could've left it at that, but his friends hadn't seen what he'd seen nor did they know what it was like to grow up in an unpainted house, the way it saps your spirit, sinks your self-esteem. Delgarde, though, had and so he called
The idea resonated with Watkins.
He told Delgarde about "A Painted House," a
In the beginning of the story, Watkins told him, the boy, a big baseball fan, was lusting over a red Cardinals jacket. By the end, however, he had matured beyond his years and instead of buying the jacket with the money he'd earned harvesting cotton, he used his money to buy paint for the house.
"I thought that was exactly what he was trying to do, to help people feel better about their lives," Watkins said. "I loved the idea so much I wrote a few checks to help him get started." It was the push Delgarde needed to move from an idea to a non-profit organization distributing paint across the globe.
Just two weeks ago, he shipped 200 gallons to
Although he has yet to find a single warehouse large enough to store and reprocess the paint, Delgarde said he has been surprised by the generosity of people from as far away as
"I just feel good about sending it to a place that will want to reuse it," she said. "Plus they actually come pick it up so it just couldn't be a better program."
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Delgarde said that the charity will accept any container of latex or oil paint, regardless of the amount, age or condition.
The goal, he said, is not only to offer pride to residents in developing countries but protect the environment and relieve donors of the burden of disposing of unused paint.
"It sounds so simple but the benefits are so amazing," he said.
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Donate paint Global Paint for Charity accepts latex or oil paint, regardless of the amount, age or condition. Call 678-314-3521 or 855-853-7772 toll free. www.globalpaints.org.
(c)2012 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)
Distributed by MCT Information Services
PHOTO (from MCT Photo Service, 202-383-6099): PAINT-CHARITY
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