Pine Crest alum-USF student goes extra mile for Afghan kids

My SUV filled to the max as we take another shipment to the post office.

Every time I load up my SUV with school supplies and head to the post office to ship them to Afghanistan, I marvel at the process that brings in these supplies and pays for their shipping. We get all the school supplies for free; they are donated to us through drives around the country. And the shipping money keeps coming into our shipping fund at Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation. Every time our garage is empty and we are down to our last $20 in the shipping fund, somehow somebody somewhere steps up and makes this project have a new lease on life.

Chase with his car load of school supplies donated by Pine Crest School. Photo by Liisa Temple.

One of those special people is Chase Zimmerman who was in our Spring 2011 USF Honors class. Back in March he recruited the Pine Crest School, his former learning institution  in Boca Raton, FL to join our efforts. At the end of the school year Pine Crest did a massive collection and Chase patiently packed it all into his car and drove everything to our house – quite the accomplishment considering his car was filled to the ceiling with bags and bags of school supplies for the 4 hour drive. (The photo of Chase in this blog entry was taken when we had emptied half the car already just so that I could fit in to take his picture).

Shipment leaving in early August 2011 for Southern Afghanistan from Tampa International Airport post office.

Over the summer we got multiple requests for supplies from various units deployed to Afghanistan who needed school supplies for the Afghan children near their combat outposts and their forward operating bases. And thanks to Chase and the generosity of Pine Crest we had boxes and boxes full of supplies to send.  Due to the increase in fighting between the Taliban and the NATO troops during the summer months some of our “Chase/Pine Crest” shipments are just now being delivered to the Afghan kids. And the supplies Chase put his heart and soul into collecting for us finally ran out last week – in October! So thank you, Chase and Pine Crest, for everything you have done – you were incredibly generous with your time and with your resources. Hopefully we will get pictures back soon from Afghanistan and can show you what a huge difference you made.

Last of Chase's Pine Crest supplies leave for Afghanistan in late October 2011.

Another note about Chase. He’s the one who recruited Papa John’s to be our pizza party sponsor last semester. No wonder this amazing Honors class raised more than $4,000 for our shipping fund and shipped more than 200 boxes to Afghanistan. With last week’s shipment we are now officially at more than 18,000 pounds shipped since starting this project in June 2009.

If you would like to help us continue this effort, please visit the donate button at the top of the page or simply leave a comment on this blog and we will get in touch with you. All 100% of the tax deductible donations go to our shipping costs.

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About Liisa Hyvarinen Temple

Multimedia journalist & multimedia production instructor at USF since 2002. Former Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellow (1999). Winner of Walter Cronkite political reporting award. Proud military wife.
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