Actor Gary Sinise Spearheads Effort to Aid Iraqi Children; ”Operation
Iraqi Children” Combines Efforts of Major Non-Profits and FedEx
KANSAS CITY, Mo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–April 2004–Actor Gary Sinise
announced tthis week that 3 major non-profit organizations and FedEx
Express, the world’s largest express shipping company and an operating
company of FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX), are working together to help
schoolchildren in Iraq. It’s an effort coordinated by Operation
Iraqi Children, a grassroots organization co-founded by actor Gary
Sinise and Seabiscuit: An American Legend best-selling author Laura
Hillenbrand. Operation Iraqi Children, which was inspired by conversations
with Operation Iraqi Freedom soldiers as well as by Sinise’s recent
tour of Iraq, encourages ordinary citizens to send school supplies
and Arabic translations of Seabiscuit to Iraqi children.
Heart to Heart
International, a global humanitarian organization mobilizing individuals
to serve the needs of the poor in their communities and around the
world; People to People International (PTPI), a voluntary effort
of private citizens promoting international understanding through
direct people-to-people contacts; and the Veterans of Foreign Wars
of the United States, along with sponsor FedEx are working together
with Operation Iraqi Children on this project.
At a news conference
at the FedEx terminal at the Kansas City International Airport,
Sinise said the goal of this collaborative effort is to provide
every child in Iraq’s more than 15,000 schools with basic educational
tools and supplies; as well as an Arabic copy of Seabiscuit. These
supplies will be delivered by soldiers stationed in Iraq.
added, "I can’t express how grateful I am that FedEx, People
to People International, Heart to Heart International, and the Veterans
of Foreign Wars are joining us in Operation Iraqi Children. With
their immense generosity, we can bring a new and brighter future
to the children of Iraq."
Dr. Gary Morsch,
president and founder of Heart to Heart International, believes
this partnership highlights the mission of the organization he founded
11 years ago. "As a battalion surgeon serving at Camp Anaconda,
and having had the privilege of delivering Heart to Heart supplies
to villages in this area, I’m a soldier who knows firsthand the
incredible goodwill that comes from helping to provide the most
basic materials." Lt. Col. Morsch goes on to say, "These
good people have suffered a great deal. What an incredible joy to
share some of the plenty we take for granted."
PTPI has pledged
to involve its worldwide membership to become a part of this monumental
effort. "It is a distinct honor for members of our People to
People International family around the world to work in collaboration
with these esteemed organizations and to assist Operation Iraqi
Children in its mission," said PTPI President and CEO Mary
Jean Eisenhower. "Our members have a history of supporting
people in need: from victims of landmines in Sri Lanka, underprivileged
children in Haiti, to orphanages in Morocco. Our global network
is ready to answer the call for the innocent children of this country
a mission that shows you how much heart our service members have,"
says Edward S. Banas, commander-in-chief of the 2.6 million-member
VFW and its Auxiliaries. "This is our way of making a difference
in not only helping our soldiers’ aid in the battle for peace, but
also to help promote peace through education."
Children offers two programs for individuals to make a difference.
Through the School Supplies Program, children can help their Iraqi
counterparts by gathering school supplies in school-wide drives,
which will then be sent to Heart to Heart International’s warehouse
in Kansas City. From there, FedEx will provide free shipping to
a military base in Iraq, where soldiers will take them to Iraqi
villages. Instructions for assembling the appropriate school kits
are listed at the Heart to Heart International Web site at www.hearttoheart.org.
Please note that customs clearances, and shipment permissions may
be jeopardized if inappropriate items are included. Through the
Seabiscuit Program, operated through Thoroughbred Charities of America,
donations can be made that will be used to purchase very low cost
Arabic translations of the best-selling book, Seabiscuit: An American
Legend. Information on both these programs can be found at www.operationiraqichildren.org