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Planet Aid Comes to Milford

From left to right: Planet Aid's Chief Operating Officer Fred Olsson, Milford General Manager Peter Donnelly, Northeast Regional Manager Wayne Michaud, Chief Financial Officer Tom Meehan, and Landmark Associates President Tony Chiarelli.





Planet Aid has a new home in Milford. The nonprofit organization, which collects and then sells donated clothing, shoes, and toys to raise funds for programming in underdeveloped countries, had its grand opening on December 4.

The new Milford location provides a facility that is three times bigger than the previous facility in Holliston. Located at 47 Sumner St., the newly renovated building is a 125,000 square foot operation that will now allow the organization the ability to expand its setup. "We liked the area and already had a relationship with Milford. Plus, there's access to 495," explained Northeast Regional Manager Wayne Michaud of the move.

Planet Aid is known for its signature bright yellow collection boxes which are located at various businesses and organizations throughout the country including schools, churches, grocery stores, and restaurants, among others. The organization collects recycled donations to sell and then funds projects throughout the world with the proceeds. That funding goes on to assist vulnerable populations in Asia, Africa, South America, and some in the United States. "We serve the poorest of the poor," said Michaud.

Since it begin in 1997, the organization has collected more than 1 billion pounds of textiles resulting in approximately $110 million of funding to train teachers, fight AIDS, and provide disaster relief, just to mention a few. Last year, Planet Aid provided relief to the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

General Manager Peter Donnelly stated the Milford location can expect to collect more that 20 million pounds of donations annually. Milford will be responsible for overseeing 2,500 bins throughout Southern New England. Once collected by drivers, the textiles will be sorted at the Milford warehouse, compressed into bulk sacks, and then eventually shipped to various locations to be sold.

Tony Chiarelli, President of Landmark Associates out of Milford, was the restoration contractor hired to renovate the Milford facility, which he said came with its own challenges. The original structure dates back to 1935 and was once a tile manufacturing operation. "We performed lots of alternations to the building," said Chiarelli, which included upgrades to the sprinkler and electrical systems. It took Chiarelli and his workers approximately eight months to complete the renovations. "The Fire Department is really pleased with the work because the building is now up to code," added Michaud.

Although Planet Aid is now fully operational in Milford, improvements will continue to be made to the facility including adding several more loading docks and new landscaping in the back. In 2014, it is hoped the entire roof of the building will have solar panels. For more information on Planet Aid, log on to www.planetaid.org.




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