SSP3: Tikrit Orphanage

On 23 September, my unit and others hosted the 33 or so kids from the Tikrit orphanage, for a day of playing and food and fun. One of the goals was to round up supplies and stuff needed by the kids for the new school year, plus some of the other fun things kids like. And the visit coincided with Eid al-Fitr, the the holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

With help from Agent 51, aka PFC Merk, I drafted and posted a quick note to the IBOL site a while ago, asking for help with a super secret project. I offered that I needed maybe a dozen volunteers, for a quick turn-around effort, and that if they could help, great, and if they couldn’t, I’d understand.

In typical IBOL fashion, several dozen volunteers responded.

The project? Codenamed Old Mother Hubbard, it was asking people if they could duplicate the IBOL formula — going into their stash and sending a flat-rate USPS box — but with kids things and school things for the orphans. Nothing fancy, nothing elaborate. Just whatever people had handy that they could pass along to some kids in need. The SSP3 stuff would be added into the mix of other stuff being collected by others here at the base, and would hopefully make for a great bunch of stuff for the kids, both to get ready for the school year and to shower them in goodies.

Well, the response was tremendous. Huge. Not just from the SSP3 crew, but from everyone.

I managed to duck out yesterday to see the kids for a while in the morning, and Agent 51 was with them for most all of the day. I saw them again in the late afternoon, as they loaded back onto the buses. Lots of smiles, lots of laughing, lots of good time — kids and adults alike. Agent 51 was the official shutterbug, but I took a few, too.


Headed to the bus

One last photo. This is all the stuff that would not fit on the bus. I think they’re arranging to deliver this stuff to the orphanage.

Too much stuff!

To all the SSP3 volunteers, thank you. This was a very cool little side project to help take care of some very cool kids.

16 Responses to “SSP3: Tikrit Orphanage”

  1. SSP3 Revealed! « Iraqi Bundles of Love Says:

    […] By IBOL Guy I added another page to the site, with the description of and initial photos from Super Secret Project 3 — Old […]

  2. Sara Homeyer Says:

    Thanks for showing us a few photos.
    I hope Agent 51 can show us some more!
    I loved working on this project.

  3. Kristin L Says:

    I’m glad the day was a success. Would love to see more photos if possible, but just knowing the kids had a good time is good enough. 🙂

  4. MsMauri Says:

    It sounds like everyone all the way down the line enjoyed this project – most of all the children – and that there was too much STUFF to fit on the bus 🙂

    When/how do we find what else the children need (WE still got lots of STUFF) and who can we send it to?

    Yes, more pictures if possible, please, even though we know you are very busy and Agent 51 is close to on her way home.

    Thank you for letting us be a part of the celebration.

  5. IBOL Guy Says:

    Agent 51 took more photos – I just need to get them from her. Hopefully, soon — I saw this AM but she didn’t have them with her.

  6. thelandofka Says:

    What a great project! Things like these gladden my heart to see people reaching out to help others.

  7. Stacy Says:

    How wonderful! My boys were very excited to send some of their things along; I am looking forward to seeing more pictures.

    This was such a nice opportunity for my kids to get involved and learn how good it feels to be generous to other kids. Thanks!

  8. Magpie Sue Says:

    {happy sigh} I’m grinning from ear to ear!

  9. Megan Says:

    Can I echo MsMauri? I have cupboards stuffed with school supplies from 3 kids worth of school and have access to a great deal more through my work. I know this was short term, but is there anywhere else to send this sort of thing? Perhaps pack bundles using a shirt or other clothing as the wrap? The IBOL approach was so good it would be wonderful to have a chance to do more.

  10. Happy Zombie Says:

    One of the greatest gifts ever… was to be a participant in SSP3palooza. Thank you and Agent 51 for gifting us with it! I can’t wait to see more photos!

  11. IBOL Guy Says:

    Since the visit, I have run into a number of folks who managed (like me) to sneak away from wrk and spend some time with the kids. And to a T, they all had rgeat things to say about it. While I was there, the Army band played. Later, the kids had a monster lunch in our chow hall. When I saw them leaving, they were coming from our gym, where they apparently had full run of the place. I think for many, these are the types of projects that bring the most reward.

  12. Community outreach « Sygnett's 400 days! Says:

    […] guy also wrote about the same Orphan visit- what a small world! Possibly related posts: (automatically […]

  13. sygnett Says:

    The kids def. enjoyed the gym! Whoever had the idea to use laundry bags as potato sacks was a genius!

  14. Nancy Says:

    Another echo of Megan and Ms Mauri. Is there anything else we can be doing to help out? There are a lot of us ready, willing, and able! Even if you can’t, Art (and it would be understandable after having had to deal with 50…oh, no, I mean 3,442 boxes of fabric and supplies!!), maybe someone else can take up the task. Whatever our beliefs are and however we feel about war and where our troops are and why, I think we all want to help the people affected by it all.

  15. Michele Says:

    I agree with Megan, Ms Mauri and Nancy. What ever we can do to help, let me know. I now have a connection to a radio station in central Illinois.

  16. Krystal of Solsisters Says:

    I so deeply wish our media in the US would spend more time reporting on the many humanitarian efforts of our serving troops (such as IBOL and SSP3). Americans at their best are builders, creators and makers, not avenging armies and military might. Folks like your unit prove that every day. Yes, you’re there to do a job and there’s fighting, but you also remember there are innocent people caught in this endless war and you take time and extend effort far beyond what’s required to care for them. I think THIS is what makes America’s military strong far beyond our force of arms, It’s is the force of our caring.

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