What made the devastation so personal for Kindler
was the sight of the relief workers tearing at the broken concrete and splintered wood:
They weren't wearing gloves. Since 1975, Kindler -- the president of Kinco International in Milwaukie -- has been importing work gloves from Asia.
focused on those bloodied bare hands, he
didn't see a new market.He
saw a nasty void, and moved to fill it. Kindler
contacted the eight factories in China that supply him with gloves.He
asked each factory boss if he
had an old shipment lying around, a batch with six fingers, a surplus of any kind.Each one did.In some cases, the surplus ran to thousands of pairs.Nonperishable.Desperate for a new home. Kindler
then contacted Northwest Medical Teams and Mercy Corps
, two relief agencies based in Portland.That began the transformation of a generous impulse into something with genuine impact.
And then there are the gloves, a helping hand from several Chinese factories and Bruce Kindler
Work gloves, it turns out, aren't crucial to much of the work in Central America.
"Those gloves," Kindler
added, "sat in a shed for eight years.They probably didn't smell too good.But they worked as barter."
In the past three years, Kindler
has helped 200,000 orphaned pairs of gloves find new homes in 16 countries.He
is quick to add that he
has done little more than serve as those gloves' travel agency."I'm a facilitator," he
said."My costs are minimal."
instincts are superb.He
guesses that hundreds of importers know of junk going to waste, stuff destined for a landfill unless it's diverted to a place where smelly gloves and Sunday sneakers are manna from heaven.
knows that those without may need something you'll never miss.