The Third Jar
When our boys get allowance (when we remember to dole it out!) their money is split into three jars. One is for fun. They can keep the money to save up for a toy, a video game, or maybe treats when they get to go out with friends. The second jar is for (parent enforced!) savings. The third portion of their money goes into the donate jar. After a little time has accumulated a bit of scratch, the three boys pool their money and we help them pick a charity.
Usually they try to help out kids in need, and often the cause is related to what they have seen in the news or heard about at school. They have donated to help out kids made homeless by Katrina. They have donated to the Red Cross to help out kids uprooted by earthquakes. They have donated to UNICEF to help hungry children around the world.
When I read about War Kids Relief, it immediately struck me as a cause the kids would want to support. They provide help for children in Iraq whose lives have been uprooted by the war.
This campaign was started by Gunnar Swanson, a soldier who patrolled the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers when he was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and 2004. He saw firsthand the tragic effects of war on children, including the betrayal of recruitment of children by insurgents to become child soldiers.
He is currently marching from Texas to Minnesota and has made it as far as Kansas. Tune in to follow his progress on A soldier's march for peace:
Is anyone out there reading along his route? You can find it here:
I often speak about the combat support hospital at medical or educational events. I usually show this picture, one taken by my brother's friend as he patrolled around Iraq. It shows how children, happy smiling children like our own, are walking to school on the same roads travelled by Humvees. They are in constant danger from insurgent attacks in the form of IED's, suicide bombers, and VBIEDs. We hope for a future when they are safe.