Monday, January 7, 2008

Mission Monday: Operation Iraqi Children


Last week I wrote a few times about the plights of children in Iraq, who face difficulties such as losing their homes, becoming killed or inuured from violence related to the war, being kidnapped or sold on the black market, and even watching their parents get murdered in front of their eyes! I wrote about how relief efforts are needed in Iraq, in order to help keep these kids safe.
Unfortunately, many people frown upon the idea of helping the children of Iraq, because we are at war with their country. By helping these kids, people feel they're being unpatriotic to their own country.
But let me point out again that little children don't understand politics. They don't know anything about terrorism, or oil, or secret nuclear weapons. They only understand their own lives... and right now, they are in pain.
It is interesting that US soldiers are among the rare US citizens who want to help these kids! Perhaps because soldiers have met the children and seen first-hand that these little kids are not our enemies.
US soldiers started an organization called Operation Iraqi Children, which is dedicated to restoring the wellbeing of children in Iraq. They are especially interested in rebuilding schools and getting children into the schools. They supply many kids with school supplies and other materials they need in order to get an education.
As I pointed out in another blog entry, school is important for Iraqi children not just so that they can become educated, but so that they can be somewhere during the day where they are safe and supervised.
Your mission today is to build a school supply kit and send it to Operation Iraqi Child. A school supply kit consists of the following items:
One pair of blunt-end scissors
One 12-inch ruler with metric markings
12 new pencils with erasers
One small pencil sharpener
One large eraser
One box of colored pencils (Crayons melt in the Iraqi summer heat!)
One package of notebook paper
One composition book
Three folders with inside pockets
One zippered pencil bag.

Here are further instructions, from the website, for packing and sending your school supply kit.

Pack only the listed supplies in a backpack or in a 2-gallon sized zipper seal plastic bag.
If you would also like to send sports equipment or stuffed animals, please feel free to do so. Appropriate sports equipment might be soccer balls, jump ropes, and frisbees. Please send all balls deflated for air-transport and include a small hand pump for re-inflating.
Please use discretion in choosing your supplies, sports equipment, and stuffed animals. Avoid items that are religious, depict war or conflict, or are strongly gender or age specific. Please be sensitive to the fact that you are sending items into a culture less exposed to television and video games, and under emotional strain.
PACKING INSTRUCTIONS:
Print or the Donor Information Sheet, complete it and send it with each shipment. If you want to include pictures of, or stories about your groups effort, please do! Send the information to OIC at oicinfo@ptpi.org.
Assemble each kit in a backpack or zipper seal bag. Please enclose no additional items.
Use sturdy boxes. Banana boxes work well, but a piece of cardboard or a paper grocery bag will need to be taped over the hole in the top and bottom before shipping.
Along with your donations, you may enclose a letter or set of letters from you, your school or your organization to the soldiers who will deliver your packages or to the Iraqi children who will receive them. You may include photos, or your group assembling packages, and suggest that the soldiers or children send back their own pictures and letters.
Do not include any full names or addresses on the letters or pictures.
If you have requested a response from the soldiers or Iraqi children, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Recipients of OIC supplies have been instructed to send replies to donors directly to the OIC Warehouse. We will forward these responses using the provided envelope.
Please do not enclose religious or political materials.
Be sure that all boxes are securely taped.
In clear, bold writing, address each package to:
Operation Iraqi Children
c/o Fast Pace Distribution
6200 E. St. John Ave.
Kansas City, MO 64123
USA

If you have further questions, please contact the OIC Warehouse at 816.241.7321 or OICWarehouse@ptpi.org.


The organization also urgently needs new or gently used blankets and shoes, and 2-gallon sized zipper seal plastic bags. These things can be sent to the same address listed above.

Hopefully we can all help our US soldiers care for these kids!

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