As you may know by now if you have been reading my blog entries or those of the other students in my class, we are sending school supplies to children in Afghanistan. We are concentrating our efforts on working with other groups to raise school supplies (notebooks, pencils, pens, backpacks, binders, crayons, etc.). We must also raise funds to ship the boxes to Afghanistan. It costs $12.95 to ship flat rate boxes. When you’re sending thousands of boxes, the costs tend to add up rapidly.
This past week each of us made contact with a student organization in our university (University of South Florida for those who don’t know) to request a partnership to host a fundraising/supply-raising event. The organizations we selected ranged from female groups to Muslim groups to Christian groups and beyond. I’m trying to convince CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ) to help host one of these fundraising events.
Working on this project has changed all of our perceptions about the situation in Afghanistan and our efforts to end terrorism. I’m not just saying this as a shameless plug for our project. This class has actually made me care about what we are doing. Before, I didn’t know anything about Afghanistan or what the United States was doing there. I didn’t have much incentive to become knowledgeable about these subjects. I was completely disconnected from what was happening overseas. However, hearing directly from SMSgt Rex Temple about his efforts with his wife, Liisa Temple, to get these school supplies to Afghanistan, brought the problem closer to me. I saw pictures of the children receiving their school items and heard their stories, and I felt connected to them.
I hope I can do more than just “a little” to help these kids. I’ve gotten good reactions from friends about what this class is doing. Jared, for example, has already expressed great interest in becoming involved with this project. He has gathered his school supplies and even bought new ones to donate. I live in a living-learning community called the BBC (Bulls Business Community). The BBC is located on the fourth floor of Poplar Hall and about 130 students live in it. There are three pods with 1/3 of the BBC students residing in each. I am hoping to put boxes in each of these Pods so that my fellow students donate what they want. Sometimes, people want to help, but it might be too much of an inconvenience to go out of their way and their schedule to do it. By putting boxes in each Pod I am allowing them to help without going out of their way.