Where the Need is Greatest

For almost a week now, I have pondered what I can do to help the people of Japan.  I am sitting here in the relative comfort of Iraq — yes, I realize how strange that sounds — and can watch the footage of the massive devastation on the island, see the anguish in peoples eyes, and understand the barren existence of having lost everything.  It is a time in Japan to turn to each other, to turn to family, to turn to friends, in order to get through the losses and the misery.  And yes, it is rather surreal indeed, to be an American in Iraq worrying about Japan.

As some of you know, I work with some folks who are stationed in Japan.  They are assigned to a based that is up on the north end of the island.  Their unit, the friends, are all OK.  They have fared well.  But still, the area near their base, especially just to the south and along the coast, has been devastated.  Less than a week after the earthquake and tsunami, they are going out into the area to see how they can help, to see what they can offer, to be good neighbors and partners and to offer all that they can.

But what to do?  I know I am not along in wanting to do something, but not knowing what.  I do know that, about as soon as it happened, up popped the scam emails probably faster than actual relief organizations could update their own websites.  But still, electronic transfers to well established groups  certainly appear the best way to go — well organized, established groups with robust capabilities and a knowledge on how to make a difference at times like this, in places like this, under conditions like this.

1.  Give to the Red Cross.  If you want my opinion, give to them without strings attached, for them to use where the need is greatest.  That is, after all, a very common theme with IBOL — where the need is greatest.  Maybe you can help Japan some, but maybe you’ll also help Haiti, or Egypt, or any of the number of other places where Red Cross / Red Crescent are active in helping others who are in need.  Why is Red Cross at the top of the list — yep, that’s right, my dad was a lifelong volunteer with the Red Cross.

2. Give to Doctors Without Borders.  I can’t think of an Army adventure i have been on, where I have not run into Médecins Sans Frontières, as they are officially known around the world.  Good, good people, who already have several teams on the ground in Northern Japan.

But there’s one more thing.  I have a bridge into Japan, to the unit.  If you want to help out, let me know — leave a comment here, or send to me an email.  If you’re in a position to put together a small box of stuff to send, that’d be awesome — we can talk about it more in email. Supporting others like the Red Cross and MSF make far more sense, but if you want to also help by sending something, well, we can do that, too.

And as always, I want to extend my thanks to all of you.  I have met some truly great people through IBOL, and we sure wouldn’t be having this conversation were it not for the great people behind IBOL itself.

18 Responses to “Where the Need is Greatest”

  1. Ann E. Ruthsdottir Says:

    What could we put in boxes to send to you?
    I can not think of anything at the moment. I’m over come by the videos and photos of the devastation.

  2. Kath Gilliam Says:

    I have two huge bolts of fleece that I could make into blankets. I could also knit blankets on my knitting machine. I see it snowing on the tv. Would this be helpful? If so, I would be glad to send several boxes.

  3. Dee Sulenski Says:

    Hi, for some reason I can’t find your email address…please email me and let me know what I may do regarding filling a box to send to Japan.
    Wishes for Peace & good health tom you, my friend, Dee

  4. stephanie Says:

    As much as we would like to reach out in a more personal way, at this point, the larger efforts organized by the Red Cross and others is probably the most effective. But maybe we can do something more than pray and donate money a little further down the road.

    • IBOL Guy Says:

      Stephanie, I totally agree. What separates Japan from Iraq is the gunfire. Relief organizations can easily get into and move about Japan, when they can’t in Iraq for reasons of security. That alone is why I think it’s far better to support something like the Red Cross or MSF, vice spending $10+ for shipping.

  5. Sandy Says:

    Count me in, IBOL guy 🙂

  6. Melissa Says:

    I’m in – I want to help. Let me know how I can. Thank you for your caring heart and for finding ways to let us help too.

  7. Marsha m Says:

    What can we send? I can do up fleece blankets in a hurry but would send items needed and requested. Stuffed animals to comfort children etc….

  8. Jean S Says:

    count me in also.

    Japan has an extremely strong culture of fiber arts of all kinds. I’m wondering about knitting supplies, as a way for anxious people to have something to do while they wait in those shelters…..

    Get this: When I cut back from 2 boxes to 1 for this most recent IBOL effort and set things aside, I put a bunch of knitting and crochet needles aside for a future box. Wierd.

  9. Kate Says:

    Count me in–I’m not crafty, but I’m happy to pack up some boxes of toiletries or snacks or blankets or jackets–whatever is needed–we’re glad to be able to help in some way.

  10. Misty Says:

    Count me in. I just lost my job due to downsize, but I have extra (new) blankets & knitting supplies Kids puzzles, & books, etc.. Just ask or suggest what I can do to help. I can not spare money now, obliviously, but please let me know.
    Hummer Hugs,
    hummingbird204 at comcast dot net

  11. kristi Says:

    I’m in. Let m e know what you need.

  12. Andrea Says:

    I would like to help in any way possible. I could get together a package, I crochet a lot so I could maybe send a few blankets or something else?! Please email me with what is needed and I will do my best to help in anyway I can! Thanks so much!

  13. Teresa Gemignani Says:

    Today I put two boxes in the mail to Misawa. It made me feel good to know that I have helped in a personal way. I am glad to give our servicemen something tangible to help the Japanese people. It is good when our servicemen reach out with a hand filled.
    Thanks for making this possible.

  14. Karina Says:

    Count me in! I’ve been scouring the interwebs for other ways to help.

  15. IB♥L3D: The Big IB♥Lski « Iraqi Bundles of Love Says:

    […] and gentlemen, thank you for all the extra support in recent weeks with things like helping Japan and starting Super Secret Project […]

  16. Phyllis A. Fields Says:

    What a great way to pass on fabric and sewing supplies, that I don’t have need of or have duplicates of. Plus, I have knitting needles, I can donate.
    Please send the mailing address. I going out today and get a box.

  17. Cathy Barnes Says:

    Need an address to send my box. Great job!

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