Opinion

Small change adding up big

No surprise that islanders have taken to heart the

cause of tsunami disaster relief for our neighbors across our shared ocean.

Folks who turned out to Pegasus for last Saturday’s

performance by Holly Figueroa chipped in more than $400 to the cause, we’re told. More good news in an update from our friends Nancy Quitslund, Bill Reddy and Suellen Cunningham, organizers of the “Coins That Care” effort announced in these pages a week or so ago. Their dispatch came in after we had today’s Letters pages in the can, but we’ll gladly give up the editor’s space for a few community huzzahs and a reminder of what our community’s contributions are all about:

“Our young people have been making decisions they normally don’t have to make. Whether to give away their money to people they don’t know, who may look a bit different to them, speak a different language and live in a strange place. But the plain loss and grief in the faces of those young people on the screen is unmistakable. Our young people have taken stock for a moment and quietly decided what is right for them. Last week across the public and privates schools, our young people have been exercising their hearts of compassion in a remarkable demonstration of understanding, empathy and support for the victims of the Indonesian earthquake and more widely spread tsunami.

“Thanks to the work of our young people and others in the community, on Friday ‘Coins That Care’ cut checks to a total amount of $7,266 – leaving $125 dollars in the account. The first dollars were distributed equally between UNICEF and Oxfam. Funds from classroom efforts are still rolling in. Some examples of the use that your dollars were put to:

• $5 provides an emergency health kit for one person for three months;

• $20 provides one month’s supply of soap for 120 people or four long-lasting and treated mosquito nets.

• $87 provides for 10 families a basic hygiene kit with detergent, soap, washbasin, towels, bucket and water purification tablets.

• $188 provides a “School-in-a-Box” containing basic education supplies for 80 children.

“UNICEF and Oxfam has hundreds of people working in all the affected countries of the region, with the greatest activities in the hardest hit countries.

“Across the community, businesses like Island Fitness have also recognized the corollary between exercising our physical heart and exercising our heart of compassion and have put together a silent auction for the victims of the tsunami – thank you Island Fitness. Thank you, teachers, parents, businesses, individuals and American Marine Bank for all your efforts and contributions. With all the grief and difficulty in the world, being able to join together to concretely help another human being in such terrible distress is perhaps a bittersweet tonic that we all may need right now.”

Islanders can continue to donate to “Coins That Care” at any branch of American Marine Bank (make checks to “HRB-Coins That Care,” and Housing Resources Board will post you a handy tax write-off).

Folks might also look ahead to “A Wave of Caring: A Concert for Tsunami Relief,” at 3 p.m. Jan, 16 in the BHS gym, with the cost of admission benefitting the American Red Cross International Response Fund. The program is getting longer by the day – more than 200 performers are already on board, publicist Linda Owens reported Tuesday – with musical performances slated by the Bainbridge Chorale, Bella, members of Ovation! Musical Theater Bainbridge, Island Theatre, Corinna Lapid-Munter, Jon Doll and Eddie Williams, and reflective readings of poetry and prose by Kelli Russell Agodon, Tamara Sellman and Janis Loken...

...And more. Check this weekend’s Review for the lineup, and keep your Sunday afternoon open for this good cause.

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