Toilet paper donation ‘really important’

PLATTSBURGH — A Georgia-Pacific donation will be rolling 144,000 spools of toilet paper to North Country not-for-profits.

The paper manufacturer’s Plattsburgh Mill produces about 15,000 cases of Quilted Northern Ultra Plush bath tissue each day and, for the third time, has gifted some of that product to the United Way of the Adirondack Region.

United Way President & CEO John Bernardi said about 20 of the totaled 60 pallets, each holding over 1,000 rolls of toilet paper, had already been pledged to area shelters and treatment centers.

“It’s fun, it’s unique, it’s interesting, but it’s also tremendously beneficial to the nonprofit network in our region,” Bernardi said at a Friday morning news conference. “You don’t think about paper products as something that’s a really important human-service component, but it is.

“This particular product, which is of tremendous quality, is really being utilized by nonprofits who are helping people and it’s making a great difference.”

Continued support

Since 1949, the United Way of the Adirondack Region Inc. has operated as a voluntary fundraising and human service organization.

Bernardi said Georgia-Pacific has been a longtime supporter of the group’s efforts.

“They’ve been the largest supporter of the United Way of the Adirondack Region for as long as I can remember,” Bernardi said. “Not just financially, but in volunteering time and product.

“They’re a tremendous community partner.”

‘To the right people’

Located on Margaret Street in the City of Plattsburgh, Georgia-Pacific started manufacturing at the local plant in the early 1960s.

The Plattsburgh Mill’s Director of Manufacturing Steve Maharaj said the Quilted Northern Ultra Plush bath tissue was the only product to be manufactured there.

Georgia-Pacific currently has three other sites making that product, he said.

“It’s something that competes fairly well in the market,” Maharaj said. “It’s a good product. If you haven’t used it, I highly recommend that you try using it.”

On top of that, though, Maharaj was happy to support the Adirondack region’s United Way.

“It’s something that we want to do. It’s something that we want to be a part of,” he said. “Through our partnership, we absolutely believe that United Way is going to donate this product to the right people.

“We’re also thankful for what they do in our community, too.”

In storage

Georgia-Pacific and the United Way weren’t the only two organizations that teamed up for the donation, though.

Warehouse and distribution company the Northeast Group was also a partner in this initiative, housing the many rolls of bath tissue at a nearby warehouse.

Northeast Group Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Betsy Vicencio said the group would be storing the product until delivering it to the various organizations.

“We’re happy to be a part of this whole process and this donation that’s going to help so many people with an item that nobody thinks about,” she said.

The bath tissue will sit alongside products of the group’s other customers, she added.

“We have about 40 or 50 primarily Canadian importers that bring their goods in through the port at Montreal and land their products here,” Vincencio said.

“They’re commodities such as clothing, electronics, industrial restaurant equipment — a curious collection.”

Community partnerships

Bernardi said the partnership was representative of the Adirondack region’s spirit of cooperation and collaboration.

“You go other places in the world and you don’t necessarily see organizations and businesses working together like we do here,” he said.

“This is another example of how generosity and willingness and cooperation can make a difference.”

As of right now, Bernardi said, each nonprofit can request one pallet of toilet paper.

“They have to go through our office and they need to be a nonprofit organization, which could include churches,” he said. “We are asking that people commit to a full pallet.

“If they want more, and some have asked for more than one, we will put them on a waiting list. We are doing one pallet at a time per organization at this point.

“I want to give everybody across the region a crack at it.”

Interested non-for-profits can contact the United Way by email at adminasst@unitedwayadk.org.


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