Luggage costs cost ministry, medical team to cut back on aid - News, Weather & Sports

Luggage costs cost ministry, medical team to cut back on aid

Marla Cautilli Marla Cautilli

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The vibrant landscape of Nicaragua includes breath taking landscapes, active volcanoes and world class-surf. However, behind the beautiful scenery are the six million people who make up one of Central America's largest countries, one that is among the poorest in the western hemisphere. 

The cost of reaching out to offer a helping hand is climbing.  

One group in Louisville is now calling on help itself just so it can offer aid.

"We've got medical professionals, some are nurses, some are doctors, some are medical students," said Marla Cautilli, with Hand in Hand Ministry.

During a trip to Nicaragua the ministry will be changing and possibly saving lives. But like most trips there is luggage.

"A couple of years ago things changed," she said.

Not with the poverty or need in Nicaragua and not with the dedication or service with Hand in Hand.

Cautilli said, "We use to be able to bring two bags per person."

A bag for personal items and a bag filled with lifesaving needs for those in Nicaragua.

"When they started charging for bags we started having to pay for the additional bag that went. I mean we got $20,000 worth of medical equipment here that we want to get over to Nicaragua."

At least $800 in baggage fees.

"The doctors are already paying their own way to go on the trip," Cautilli said, "So to ask the doctors to pay for your trip to take a week away from your practice, go get all this stuff and pay for your extra bag is a lot to ask these medical professionals."

Aid for Nicaragua's most vulnerable and money that could be used in other ways than baggage fees.

"We have reached out to Delta Air Lines to ask if they can help us with all this and we are in que for a request and I don't know if it will come through or not," she said.

What they do know is their flight leaves Sunday and "it really means a lot to these people."

Cautilli said, "We've got hundreds of receiving blankets because last year when we went they noticed they were taking hospital gowns and wrapping up newborns."

Hand in Hand knows the value of helping others and the value of a dollar.

"We've got other non-profits that we assist. We get things that we can't directly use like dress for success.  We don't send those clothes to Nicaragua."

Hand in Hand assists 45 non-profits here at home and other across the world, but getting what they need to do their job around the world is just a bit more difficult now.

"We can't do everything, but what we do well is send people away and do service in other communities and come back and make a more compassionate citizen in this community," Cautilli said.

Delta Air Lines was very polite but I could not get an answer Tuesday as to whether we could get the fees waved.

Hand in Hand Ministries is a tax exempt 501 (c) (3) charitable organization; therefore donations are tax deductible consistent with IRS laws. If you would like the help Hand in Hand by giving them a hand with a donation for this trip or any of their work call (502) 459-9930. You can also make a donation online by clicking here, or by writing a check to;

Hand in Hand Ministries
2225 Steier Lane
Louisville, Ky 40218

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