Tuesday, October 30, 2007

We can all help

I think I stand with most in the center when I say I struggle with the war in Iraq. As an American I bear responsibility for the suffering of the Iraqi people. I struggle with how we got in and even more importantly how we get out – responsibly, and carefully. I do not protest because I do not believe that bringing our troops home immediately will help. But I do think of myself as a woman of action. So I pray and I support the USO, and the VFW, and AMVETS. I voice my appreciation to members of the military and their families whenever I have the chance. Mostly, I pray, for our sailors, soldiers and marines. For their families and their leaders. And I pray for the people of Iraq. I know that prayer is powerful, but I have often wished I could do more.

Enter the TD Foundation, started by former Army Reservist Tom Deierlein during his service in Iraq. Money donated to the TD Foundation is being used to purchase items in bulk for Iraqi children: clothes, shoes, vitamins, toys, soccer balls, school supplies, blankets and other provisions. The items are being shipped to designated U.S. Army soldiers who distribute them in the poorest areas of Baghdad. The charity also is helping to coordinate medical care for injured Iraqi children whenever possible. This is a grassroots organization. All participants in this fund are volunteers, 100% of donated funds will go to those children and families in need. An e-mail from Capt. Bill Billeter about a shipment of clothes the TD Foundation sent to Baghdad shows the tremendous power these efforts can have:
Tom,
There is a local Iraqi District Council member who has dedicated much of her time to locating and assisting the refugee families who have fled to our area from all over Iraq. This area is a little safer than most, so we have several hundred of these families here — Sunni, Shi’a, whatever. They often arrive here with little besides their clothing, a few small suitcases, and a carload of children. The council member invited many of these families to a local government office that was secured by Iraqi police for the purpose of giving out food and water. And she invited us too. So, we loaded up one of our trailers with many of the clothes, shoes, stuffed animals and school supplies that you and your friends have sent us. There were hundreds of Iraqis there with their families. We pulled up and opened the trailer, and you would have thought we were giving out gold bars. Hundreds of them gathered around us to get whatever we had to offer. And they were grateful. I saw little kids holding stuffed animals bigger than they were. I saw families helping their children try on the new clothing and shoes. … It was a great event and a great day, and all the boxes of gifts that you guys sent us made a big difference.

As you know, many of the Iraqis are fed lies about us by the insurgents and radical imams and those who want us to fail here. They are told that we are oppressors and infidels. And, unfortunately, many Iraqis believe the lies because they don’t get to interact with us and find out the truth. On that day, with the hundreds of refugee families, they got to see us for who we really are.
Thank you,
Bill
As soon as I read about Tom Deierlein’s story in this MSNBC special report, I went to the site and made a donation. And now I challenge all of you, whatever your politics to do so as well. Make a difference, make a donation, spread the word. And above all keep on praying.

4 comments:

No Left Turn said...

Thanks, UM, and yes, we all CAN help. Like you, I don't believe in protests. Like you, I do believe in action that actually has a purpose. what you have just posted is part of the action and the passion we all should have to make a difference. I'm going to make a donation right now. Let's hope that this post of yours is spread far and wide. This kind of positive action, this kind of power does make a difference. You have just made a real difference. Thank You.

Unincorporated Middle said...

No left turn,

Thanks. There is an option to e-mail friends and family from the TD foundation website to help spread the idea.

Publia said...

Is it too expensive, or would it make sense to make a collection of clothing and toys on the North Shore? Everybody has nice, practically new things they could give and we could have convenient collection points. Generally speaking, NGO's seek money, but there must be a lot of transport to Iraq with free space. One year, the local schools had a coat drive for Pine Ridge Reservation and someone was driving the items up there. We sent along a lot of nice, barely used coats and I am sure that others' closets had even better finds. We have so many things around here, we could send them along to others which not only recycles them but is also helpful.

Unincorporated Middle said...

Publia,

I think a "gently-used" drive would be a great idea. A while back there was a drive to donate school supplies for Iraqi children - but the expense came in the shipping. I know when my nephew was serving, it was not cheap to send a box of "goodies" from home. I'll do a little digging to see if there are any groups closer to home accepting items for donation.