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April 18, 2005

It's National Volunteer Week

April 17-24 is National Volunteer Week. This is a good week to make a commitment to help your community! A gift of time -- only one hour per month -- to your neighborhood goes a long, long way.

You don't need to be a hero to volunteer. Volunteers are heros. And every community needs help. You could read stories to children. File books at the library. Plant trees. Teach knit or crochet at a nursing home. Teach English in the evenings to Spanish speakers. Sure, you could travel, like I'm able to do this year. But you can be just as helpful near your home (and you won't need shots for that!).

You don't even need a formal group or commitment to volunteer. Maybe for one hour a week, you could grocery shop for an elderly person in your neighborhood. Or cut their grass. Help the neighbor's kid with his homework.

Stumped? Try Volunteer Match. They have a lot of ideas, right near you.

Seem intimidating? Feel like you don't have time? Call up that friend you keep meaning to have lunch with, and volunteer together. You'll be guaranteed to see each other once a month, for an hour.

Posted by sedda at 09:56 AM

April 08, 2005

Still Taking Donations

For those of you who haven't had a chance to support tsunami survivors, they still need your help -- despite what you may be reading in the news. Many of these listed here are 501(c)3s, some might not be--check out their sites.

The major areas of support needed are (in no particular order):
-building homes
-building boats
-educating kids
-teaching english to adults and kids

You can make a general donation to Tsunami Volunteer, where I'm working, by clicking here. If you are able to afford shipping and want to support the volunteers' spirit, they always will appreciate peanut butter (small jars for better rationing), CDs/cassettes, playing cards+games, mosquito powder packets, sun cream, CHOCOLATE and first aid supplies.

You also can earmark a donation for specific projects we are working on.

You can donate to the Pakarang Boat Building Project via Tsunami Volunteer, or through the private group that funded the project (Click here). The boat shed is nearing construction, and now fishermen are queueing to build and repair boats. A boat costs about $3,000 to build from scratch, and allows a fisherman to support his family and get back to his normal life. If you have the means to ship goods, the project is in need of at least two outdoor-style push brooms, and likely boatbuilding chisels, etc. You can send them c/o Scott Carter, Pakarang Boat Building Mgr, to the volunteer center. Tools can be purchased here, but you can't find a pushbroom anywhere.

If you don't want to do a bank transfer, you could mail your donation to the center:
THE MIRROR FOUNDATION PHANG NGA OFFICE
KHAO LAK NATURE RESORT 26/10 MOO 7
TAMBON KHUK KHAK
Takua Pa, PHANG NGA 82190 THAILAND
Tel +09 882 6187 Fax +66 (0)76 420179

Today I found out about a project that will build 80 homes for the people of Kura Buri, north of Khao Lak+Nam Kem--also hard hit. The group is called 4Kali (and here for the whole story, whether you want to donate or not--they have a positive spirit to share.) The family was in town a couple of weeks ago to cremate their daughter in a moving ceremony some of the volunteers attended.

The guys at North Andaman Tsunami Relief always can use a hand with their community projects. Click here for their site. They have a group of 20 (?) volunteers as well, lots of Americans and some Brits, as well as Thais who could use care package and financial support as well.

Tik and Neil down in Kata Beach are still taking donations for the kids of Kamala, and I think they are supporting some Khao Lak and Nam Kem groups as well. They would like to support the children of Kamala who lost one or both parents. Click here for more info. If you scroll to the very bottom, you can donate via PayPal (Please consider adding a buck or two to your donation to take care of the PayPal fees they will incur getting your money). They give a hearty thank you to all of you who donated via Knitzilla (here) on their site.

If you send any donations to the Knitzilla mailbox, I will forward them along in early May after I return. Or you can buy a wonderful handmade cotton dishcloth. These funds will be routed to one of these projects, or to UNICEF. You can write checks for your scrubbies directly to the project and we'll send a scrubbie in thanks. (Please include a SASE or a couple of bucks for shipping so I can mail it to you, thanks.) Also if you'd like to support my trip here specifically, please send the donation to the Knitzilla address (or my home) with a note explaining that's what you want to do. I'm not shy--the plane ticket was $850, plus I have a change fee, so I'll take any help you'd like to send.

I would love to hear about any donations that were made because you read about them here. Please drop me a line and let me know! (s crubbie[at]r aincircle(dot)com). Thank you!

Many of these groups still are looking for volunteer help, if you are interested in donating time. If you are a medic specializing in tourist motorbike wrecks and exhaust-burns, you won't go out of work here, especially when it rains. There is a great need for a spay/neuter program for cats and dogs -- I think I have yet to see an animal that isn't pregnant or with little ones.

Posted by sedda at 08:19 AM