AIT Worldwide Boston Lends a Helping Hand

Ray Vargo and Carl Menici, co-owners of AIT's Boston location, believe in lending a helping hand.

Just ask Harriet and Tom Linskey, co-founders of Hands Across the Sea, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit charitable organization which serves underprivileged children and underfunded schools in the Caribbean. Back in 2008 when the Linskeys asked Vargo and Menisi if they could assist Hands Across the Sea by donating domestic ground shipments of children's books and teaching resources, they said, "We'd love to!"

When Harriet Linskey left a career in 2007 at Harte-Hanks (a customer of AIT-BOS) to co-found Hands Across the Sea, she sought out local Harte-Hanks General Manager Matt Pollock for help with warehousing and packing. While Hands Across the Sea receives donated ocean freight from the Port of Palm Beach, missing was a way to get the books to Florida.

Pollock suggested that Vargo and Menici could help and the Linskeys are thrilled to be a recipient of AIT Worldwide Boston's expertise. For three years, AIT has made sure that thousands of books and vital school supplies are safely carried from the Harte-Hanks warehouse in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, to the Port of Palm Beach, Florida. Speaking for thousands of deserving kids and their grateful teachers in the Caribbean as well as for themselves, the Linskeys sum up AIT Worldwide's charitable assistance and the kindness of Vargo and Menici in three words: "Our AIT angels."

Hands Across the Sea, Inc., was started in 2007 by the Linskeys. The organization's CLASS (Caribbean Literacy and School Support) program now serves the needs of 47 schools, 10,000 students, eight community libraries/reading programs and 23 U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers on the islands of Anguilla, Antigua, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada.

In November of 2010, the full-truck-load shipment of 24 pallets comprising 384 boxes of books (that's about 39,000 books), 59 boxes of school supplies, and assorted medical and office supplies were delivered to Hands-adopted projects in Caribbean. Despite the high-gloss image promoted by the travel industry, much of the Caribbean suffers the ills of very low income and very high unemployment and schools which badly lack books and basic supplies. Most families can barely afford the school uniforms and books are a luxury not present in the home.

The mission of Hands Across the Sea is to assist schools and local community centers in raising the typically low level of literacy in the Caribbean. The helping hands of Ray Vargo, Carl Menici, and AIT Worldwide's Boston location are making it happen!

"This is a partnership between AIT and Harte-Hanks to do our part and help in a small way," said Vargo. "I love the fact that I'll open a piece of mail not knowing who it's from and it's a letter from a child thanking me for books."

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