Container with supplies for Haiti unloaded 4 years later

Kent County

WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) — A shipping container of relief supplies that went missing for more than four years was unloaded Saturday by the organization who originally sent them.

After Haiti was struck with a devastating earthquake, Rays of Hope International collected medical supplies and spent nearly $20,000 shipping them to Haiti in 2013.

That shipment never made it, causing frustration and confusion to the nonprofit.

“It has been a nightmare, it has been a long process,” Rays of Hope International Director Kim Sorrelle said. “Fortunately, we had a great lawyer who did most of (the work). He did a lot of it.”

Christopher Spain, an attorney for the Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge law firm, saw the need to help the organization find the supplies and did it for free.

“Our firm really tries to help out those in the community that need it, so we have a pro bono program where we as lawyers are encouraged to take on certain pro bono cases,” Spain said.

The missing container was tracked to Miami in 2015 and made its return to West Michigan last December. Organizers weren’t able to open the shipment until Saturday morning.

“There’s a whole lot of dead cockroaches in there. I have no idea what’s good, what’s bad, what needs to be thrown away, what can be salvaged,” Sorrelle said.

Both Sorrelle and Spain hope to donate any undamaged supplies back to Haiti or to an area in need. 

“It feels really good to see the fruits of our labor for the last couple of years,” said Spain.

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