In need of clothing and shoes

We are in need of clothing donations. We have worked out a deal with a trucking company who is willing to pick-up donations from various cities throughout British Columbia.

What we are looking for are individuals or groups who are willing to help collect clothing and package them up so that a pick-up can be arranged and delivered to our Langley depot.

If you are able and willing to take an active part in this incredible organization we would love to hear from you. We will help you get started and make all the arrangements for the collection and delivery to Langley.

Please contact us by e-mail:

Sewing around the World

GEMS can help people in need around the world because of the dedication of our hard working volunteers and sacrificial donors. Two of those volunteers are Jake and Ruth Schellenberg. Jake regularly supplies GEMS with reconditioned sewing machines. Ruth is part of a group called Helping Hands sews blankets.

Thankless and Tedious Jobs

Once the truck picks up the container from our warehouse, most of the “GEMS” people here in Canada take a quick moment to catch their breath before work begins on the next container. But, halfway around the world, others are getting ready to go to work.

GEMS works with carefully screened agents and partners to distribute the much needed aid our Canadian partners and volunteers donate, collect and send. For our overseas workers, probably the most rewarding part of their job is to actually hand the goods to the people who desperately need them. The joy on the faces and the stories that are told can bring tears even to our eyes back in Canada.

Before the goods can be distributed in the destination country, however, there is the thankless and often tedious job that we often forget — meeting the local import and customs regulations. While GEMS prepares the shipping documents necessary for each destination and ensures that everything is in order, the process on the other end can be frustrating as this translated report shows:

In this first stage of the project, there was a moment of difficulty & incertitude… [We made] several visits to offices [at the port city] and in [the capital], where, during the first few days, they could offer no solution, seeing that for the customs office, it was a big, inconvenient procedure to take charge of a container without fumigating it.

Finally, we met someone who explained what we should do… this time with clear & precise directions.

One of the steps we took was to correct the Bill Of Lading, since the container had changed boats and this document had some incorrect information. Then, we had to contact the shipping company for them to take charge of the container and to do whatever was needed to have it fumigated before turning it over to us.

We freed the container from the Port and had it taken to the company where it was “de-consolidated” (emptied of all that wouldn’t need to be fumigated). After that, we had to find a fumigation business since the shipping company did not do fumigation –- they were authorized only as a primary security zone to hold the container and look after de-consolidation and consolidation. We contacted the company & arranged for the fumigation and asked the office of Agrículture & Cattle Services to check the container and duly confer a certificate of fumigation.
Since we were carrying dried soups, we had to visit the national health service and have them check the container and issue a document certifying that the foods had neither expired nor decomposed.
When this was done, we were able to put everything back into the container and then to seal it. These documents allowed us to go to Customs for permission for the container to leave the primary security zone.

We took the customs pass to the shipping company, which released the container to a truck, which transported it the three hours to our compound.

It was not possible to have the container delivered to the region of need, so a group of men emptied the container so we could then repack its contents onto other trucks for delivery to our needy citizens.

Help Arrives for Chile

Chile, aid, food, earthquake, supplies
On Thursday, July 15, 40 volunteers left El Monte, Chile to travel through the night to Lota, a small city of 45,000 devastated by the earthquake of late February and subsequent looting. Arriving at 6 AM the volunteers went to work immediately and worked tirelessly for three long days until climbing aboard the bus Sunday evening, they once again travelled through the night to their homes and to be back at work the next morning.

One of the primary tasks of that team of volunteers was to distribute the aid sent by GEMS in cooperation with the local Chilean community to the needy people in that region. Excerpts from the report filed by the team follow:

we left… by municipal bus, travelling about 10 hrs., but no matter, since the group had tremendous enthusiasm…. On arrival at the meeting place in Lota, at nearly 06:00 hrs., our contact brother was waiting with hot soup prepared by the sisters of the local church together with its Pastor, it was a blessing to be there, the low temperature didn’t matter, nor the strong wind that was blowing, nor even that the place awaiting us was social housing, the important thing was that we had arrived to fulfill the purpose of God for humanity; to bless them.

… One of the most moving visits we made that morning was to “las Cabañas” which consisted of a great many families who had been brought here after the earthquake. The houses were half-full of jars of water brought by the government to the affected families.

There we fulfilled our mission of aid, seeing the needs & how happy the children were to receive a toy, a doll or teddy bear, where children went door to door seeking articles of clothing for small brothers & sisters, never mind for themselves, where pregnant women did likewise to have clothes for their baby-to-be.

Baking for Chile

The relief we were able to send to victims of the earthquake in Chile was made possible through the work of many tireless workers. Our own volunteers once again rose to the occasion. However, the shipments would not have been possible without the work of the help of many people both in Vancouver and Victoria. The first container has arrived in Chile and will be unloaded in the town of Del Monte within the next few days.

Following is a letter sent from the Victoria Public Library.

Thanks to volunteers

Thanks to volunteers from the Chilean community in Richmond and our friends from Wagner Hills in Langley, we loaded two large 40 ft. containers in June – one to Chile on June 19, and the other to Romania on June 27.  This brings our total to 12 40 ft. containers for the year.  

Our first container to Chile has also arrived and we are anticipating further information regarding that any day now. Please pray that all goes well with these containers.  

Among other cargo on board our 2nd container to Chile this time were over 360.000 servings of soup from the Gleaners in Oliver and an X-Ray machine (a complete unit) originally donated by the hospital in Trail. This shipments is going to the city of Tirua – a small town near the city of Conception which was greatly damaged by earthquakes earlier this year.  The mayor of Tirua has already welcomed this shipment as do many other people in Chile. The cargo is scheduled to reach Chile in a few weeks time.

Many Hands Move Walls

The photo shows a group of Chilean neighbours lifting a fallen wall which was too heavy for any one of them to do alone. GEMS is a group of ordinary people who through coming together can do what none of us can do alone. We are grateful for the support of all those who work with us to make a difference to people around the world.

Thanks to Volunteers from Near and Far

During the Vancouver Olympics in February volunteers from across the country came help out. Some teams of youth from churches in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Kamloops heard about GEMS and the work we do and offered to help. They joined with our regular dedicated volunteers to sort clothes and educational material and load containers. We are grateful for the hard work of these young people and all of our volunteers.