Monday, December 04, 2006


I've started to get a lot of inquiries from family and friends regarding what I'd like to have sent to me for Hanukkah/Christmas.

I meant to post something about this last week, but as usual, I'm an idiot. Basically, instead of buying a gift for me, I'd rather people help me to contribute to one of two projects I'm involved with here:

1)Gifts for an Iraqi Elementary School -- One of the Iraqi translators in my office knows of an Iraqi elementary school that he can discretely get holiday gifts to. (Believe it or not, suicide bombers have occasionally targeted children who received gifts from U.S. soldiers). Our aim is to provide gifts for kids 6-10, to include:
- Crafts supplies (Crayons, Markers, etc);
- Soccer balls;
- Anything else an 8-year old would enjoy.

2)My office has been supplying wounded soldiers at the Combat Support Hospital here in the IZ with basic necessities. Often, when they are wounded, most of their gear is destroyed as well. So we are trying to supply them with:
- Homebaked goods (Remember - they have to be able to make to Baghdad via mail, so brownies and cookies are better than breads);
- Calling cards or MP3 cards;
- Shaving kits (shaving cream and disposable razors);
- Toothbrushes, toothpaste;
- Socks;
- Puzzle books (i.e. crosswords, word search, soduko);

Our hope is to be able to distribute both sets of items on Christmas Day, although anything that arrives late will still find its way into the appropriate recipients' hands.

My new address (which has changed since October):
CPT Benjamin Runkle
MNF-I, Strategic Effects
Communications Division
APO AE 09316

And obviously, this ends the anonymity that I've maintained for the past year, but getting these items to the kids and the wounded is worth it.