November 17, 2009 by Kristina Medley NMSU Round Up
Local business sells shirts, embroidery to feed children in Africa
Two New Mexico State University graduates set up a local company with the goal of giving back, and have donated more than 23,000 meals to orphan children since opening.
Jose Rodriguez and Aron Jones co-founded ROJO, which derives from a combination of their last names. ROJO is an online company based in Las Cruces and sells apparel and embroidery.
“With every shirt sold [by ROJO,] about 50 meals are sent to Zimbabwe, Africa, to children in orphanages,” Rodriguez said. “We wanted to set up a company with giving back as part if the core mission.”
According to www.rojoapparel.com, ROJO does discounted screen printing and embroidery jobs for NMSU and community organizations, and donates 10 percent of the profits to Zimbabwe, and each purchase comes with an estimate of how many meals the order will purchase for children in Africa. Rodriguez said the service allows campus organizations, such as sororities and fraternities, to save money on custom orders while supporting a charitable cause.
“In a lot of ways, we’re more accessible to help out students, too,” Rodriguez said, adding that he and Jones are on student schedules as well.
Rodriguez graduated from NMSU in December 2008 with degrees in finance and economics and then pursued a career at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Rodriguez said he returned to Las Cruces, because he views it as home, and he always wanted to do something to give back.
“It’s been really fun and exciting to see the positive response we’ve been getting,” Rodriguez said. “We’re thankful for all the support.”
ROJO began operations in September, and donations will be sent to Zimbabwe at the end of every month, Rodriguez said.
“We just sent out [the first donations] for our first full month in operation,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said he and Jones chose to send donations to Zimbabwe because it is one of the most impoverished countries in the world, and they wanted to donate to an area that needed it most.
Rodriguez said ROJO hopes to have a food packaging event in Las Cruces later in the year, where anyone can volunteer to help package hundreds of meals for the children of Zimbabwe.
ROJO is partnered with Global Aid Network, which consists of Christian organizations with the goal of helping the needy. Gain members in Zimbabwe hope ROJO will travel to Africa, Rodriguez said.
“We are looking forward to visiting very soon,” Rodriguez said. “[We know it will be] a life-changing experience. We would like that.”
Kristina Medley is new editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.