Monday, October 31, 2011

"1% effort here in America is 100% effective in Afghanistan" Dr. Abdullah Sherzai, then Afghanistan's Deputy Minister of Health

Question: What do the following items have in common?

  • birthing kits, each containing a pictorial information sheet, surgical drape, towel, wash cloth, soap, nail clippers and brush, gloves, bulb syringe, razor blade, ties, pad, receiving blankets, baby gown and cap, socks, diapers and pins, handwritten note
  • leper bandages, knee and foot braces, arm slings 
  • wheelchairs, walkers, commodes, crutches, canes, and other valuable medical equipment (including for children)
  • eye glasses
  • new hospital bed sheets, handmade pillowcases, towels, pads
  • doctor and nurse clothing, hospital gowns
  • medical supplies and equipment
  • stockinette baby hats
  • bandages of all shapes and sizes
  • hygiene kits, each containing shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, toothbrushes, combs, soap, towel, wash cloth, scissors, thread, sewing needles, buttons, safety pins, handwritten note
  • school kits and back packs, each containing notebooks, rulers, colored pencils, pencils, pencil sharpener, eraser, scissors, tee-shirt, handmade car or hand puppet, handwritten note
  • books, including children’s picture and storybooks, novels for children through adults, encyclopedias, textbooks of all levels including university level
  • elementary classrooms kits
  • classroom supplies for the teachers
  • recorders (musical instruments)
  • children’s boards games and activities
  • hand made dolls and toys
  • hand puppets
  • wall hangings
  • board games, educational activity supplies
  • sewing materials and supplies
  • wool yarn and knitting needles
  • warm winter coats and clothing – much of it new
  • hand crocheted and knitted wool hats
  • knitted wool scarves
  • handmade quilts
  • knitted wool socks and blankets
  • and more…



They combine to weigh 22,170 pounds (that’s just over 11 tons of LOVE!)

They shared space on a C-17 cargo jet from March ARB on October 2nd and arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan on October 4th.

They will be distributed to elementary and secondary schools, universities, orphan care centers, hospitals, medical clinics, street children, and as many of the needy people of Afghanistan as the gifts will go.  

Look here to see some of our final preparations that took place at a few “Pallet Parties” held at the Redlands Municipal Airport. 

Look here to see the loading of our 24 pallets of goods on trucks donated by Stater Bros. Markets and the trip from Redlands to March Air Reserve Base in Riverside:

Then was the prep stage at the base:

Then loading the C-17 Globemaster III and TAKE OFF:

Question: What other groups provided goods for us to include in our shipment?


  1. afghans for Afghans: hand-knitted wool hats, blankets, and wool socks
  2. Women to Women International: hand knitted scarves and hats
  3. Joann Fabric: wool yarn and knitting needles
  4. Courtney Kunze from Colorado: a mountain of winter clothing (mostly new) and delivered in a rented U Haul
  5. Students from Rotaract Club at Soka University: books, educational supplies, clothing, and toys
  6. The Happy Factory in Cedar City Utah: handmade wooden cars
  7. Redlands Bicycle Classic: T-shirts included in each of our school kits and back packs
  8. San Bernardino County library system: books and several sets of encyclopedias
  9. Dr. Laura’s My Stuff Bag program: hand puppets
  10. Villa Rotary Club in Villa Park: back packs filled with educational supplies
  11. New elementary textbooks covering most levels from a school that changed their curriculum
  12. Loma Linda University Medical Center: medical equipment
  13. Optometrist in Yucaipa:  eyeglasses, some with prescription lenses, some just new frames
  14. Five senior students from Cal State Fullerton: books, sets of encyclopedias, educational supplies, clothing, games, and puzzles
  15. Yucaipa's Seventh Day Adventist Church: medical equipment
  16. The American Sewing Society: handmade pillowcases
  17. HD Supply in San Diego: towels, washcloths, and blankets
  18. The Orange County Gamma Nu Chapter of the Alpha Delta Kappa Association, a group of professional educators: educational supplies and games.
  19. Medical textbooks from  a medical professor at a university in L.A.

 Question: In addition to members of

1. The Redlands Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including Young Men and Young Women’s groups, Cub Scouts, Achievement Day Girls, entire primaries, and Relief Societies

2. The Redlands United Church of Christ

3. The Church of Christ, Scientist

4. Girl Scout Troops 17 and 979  (plus others troops participating in "Thinking Day")

what other groups/churches outside Redlands participated?


  1. Citrus Hills Ward (Corona)
  2. Modesto 7th Ward (Modesto)
  3. Riverbank Ward (Modesto)
  4. Tustin 4th Ward (Tustin)
  5. Claremont 2nd Ward (Claremont)

  6. Young Women from a ward in Yucaipa
  7. Drop-ins from different parts of California, and as far away as New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah (to name a few).
  8. I’m absolutely positive some have been left out!  Sorry, we thank you too!


Question: Others to thank?


  1. Jim Ott of Redlands Aviation, who donated space at the Redlands airport to store our goods during the work phase.
  2. Home Depot – four of them, who donated the plastic sheeting we needed for our birthing kits.  Then later then donated tape guns and box cutters. 
  3. The Bishop’s Central Storehouse in Colton for providing space and materials needed to prepare our pallets.
  4. Hanger 24 who, in a pinch, donated the last 3 wooden pallets that we needed.
  5. Loma Linda University Medical Center and Redlands Community Hospital for giving us hundreds of clean, sturdy boxes to pack our goods in.
  6. Sun Medical in Redlands who gave us replacement rubber feet and hand rests for our crutches and medical equipment.
  7. Linda Thomas, a graphic artist, who spent many weekends putting together our pictorial information sheet for the birthing kits. Her work has been forwarded to humanitarian organizations in at least one other country – probably more. 
  8. Jeff Newton, a printer, who provided hundreds of copies of our ABC books on cardstock for us to color and then all of the copies of our pictorial information sheets for our birthing kits.
  9. A young mom from Pakistan, who translated our birthing kit instruction sheet and dozens of labels for our cartons into Farsi.  Another woman from Afghanistan, who helped with a bit more translation at the end.  
  10. A local OB/GYN who donated towels and surgical drapes to include in our birthing kits.
  11. A store and several individuals who donated sergers and sewing machines.
  12. A young Girl Scout from Yucaipa gathered donations enough to make 21 fleece blankets. She arranged for families in her area to make the blankets.
  13. Office Depot, who donated many rolls of packing tape to tape our boxes securely. 
  14. My family: Nathan, who took all the translations and prepared them so they could be put in the correct place on the correct label.  Matthew, who packed our earlier shipment of computers (in hats) and figured out how assemble all the medical equipment on pallets.  Andrew, who helped format the manifest list and was the overall tech guy, who along with Rebecca, spent hours teaching their mom how to make things work – sometimes over and over again. Isaac for helping to set up and take down many times.  Hannah, for sharing her mom and being my side-kick through it all.
  15. Sarah and Rebecca for their love, encouragement, and sharing of ideas from afar. And spouses of my children who willingly shared their sweethearts over and over again. Finally, Ron, who donated space for our finished pallets and for being the all around springboard-problem-solver-encourager-greatest-possible-support ever! 
  16. MOST OF ALL, to the many, many of you who came to workdays, some nearly every time, others when you could. Many of you sewed, shopped, crocheted, colored, cut, and pasted, and much more in your spare time at home (whatever spare time is?!) Every contribution in time and means came together to make it all happen! Each one was a valuable part of the whole. Dr. Sherzai was right! 1% effort on our part is adding up to 100% effective in Afghanistan. THANKS!!!

Question: What portion of this Afghanistan II project was delivered previously?


  1. Prenatal vitamins donated by a pharmaceutical company
  2. A multitude of prescription medications donated by a Redlands Internist
  3. From i-star Financial in Brea: twelve computers, flat screen monitors, keyboards, mice, head phones, licenses, and all that was needed to set them up in the vocational school in Jalalabad.  These were packed securely in boxes with…
  4. …685 knitted and crocheted hats.
  5. A few quilts and a set of home-made animal hand puppets.
Still to come: pictures and the story of the flight from March ARB to Kabul, Afghanistan, by way of Bangor, Maine, and Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, and the unloading of the cargo jet.

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