FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 24, 2009
Release Number 20092401-02
Afghan schoolchildren receive clothing and supplies in Bagram
KABUL, Afghanistan – Soldiers from Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan distributed more than 300 backpacks filled with clothes, shoes, school supplies and hygiene items to children at the Gulam Ali boys and girls high school in Bagram, Afghanistan, Thursday.
The items were donated by Americans from all over the U.S. through a program called Operation Backpack and shipped to Soldiers in Afghanistan to distribute to schoolchildren, most of whom live in extreme poverty.
A webpage asking for donations was posted online with a packing list and mailing address to ship the backpacks. Contributor’s were asked to fill each bag with a full set of clothing, tennis shoes, winter jacket, basic school supplies and hygiene items including toothpaste, a toothbrush and soap. The bags were labeled with the gender and age of the child who would receive it to make distribution easier.
The donation drive kicked off Oct. 1st and in just six weeks more than 300 filled backpacks were sent to Afghanistan.
The program coordinator is a Green Beret officer currently stationed in Afghanistan. He said he came up with the idea, but it was a collaborative effort among him and several others in the unit.
“To help alleviate human suffering, and demonstrate American goodwill to the children of Afghanistan,’ the officer said was one of his motivations behind Operation Backpack.
Winning the hearts and minds of the Afghan people, he added, was another inspiration. “We want the Afghan people to see that the American people care about them.”
The officer’s tour in Afghanistan has come to an end and he said he will not be able to continue with the drive but urges others to give.
“There are plenty of organizations out there if you want to help,” he said.
The new unit has already committed to ongoing work with the school during its Afghanistan tour.