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Help break the blockade and clothe Gaza’s children this winter

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104,000 Palestinians were made homeless in Gaza this summer and even though governments around the world just pledged $5.4 Billion USD to rebuild Gaza, they will still be homeless this winter.   Why?  Two reasons: the Government of Israel has yet to allow-in cement and steel and, even if you start today, construction won’t finish before the rains begin. So what happens to homeless families, homeless children when the cold comes?

They will need warm clothes and shoes and blankets — so that’s where we start.

Our goal is to open the blockade with compassion.  This past month, Rebuilding Alliance’s office in San Mateo filled with thousands of bags of gently-used clothes, shoes, and bedding for those in Gaza who lost everything.  A hundred volunteers — all faiths and backgrounds — sorted and packed over 600 boxes.  Albayk Restaurant donated lunch each day and Home Depot discounted tape and boxes.

The United Nations is helping Rebuilding Alliance get this first shipping container into Gaza for delivery to the Al Basma Club for the Disabled (ABCD).  ABCD is the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organization in Gaza City who will distribute to the families who need it most.

Of course, because this is Gaza we have to wonder will the containers get in.   I’m one of a handful of people who successfully negotiated the entry of cement into Gaza — that counts for something.   In 2010, Rebuilding Alliance launched ‘More than Chocolates for Gaza’ on GlobalGiving.org and sent backpacks, school supplies, and sports equipment to ABCD and cement to help a kindergarten in Rafah, Gaza build a new room.   We were the only American NGO to send cargo on theMV Rachel Corrie, one of the ships in the Freedom Flotilla that included the Mavi Marmara.   Nine were killed on that Turkish ship and all flotilla ships were diverted to the Israeli port of Askelon.  Later, with the help of the U.N. and the U.S. Embassy, I successfully negotiated the entry of our supplies into Gaza.

This approach, collecting clothes and school supplies, is much more direct and fits within the humanitarian framework of the truce agreement.   We’ll use what I know to seek help at all levels starting with the diverse constituents who donate clothes, through them to their Senators and Representatives, next to the State Department and worldwide diplomatic corps, and all the while, with proper accuracy and detail, working to clear Israeli Customs in accordance with standard shipping procedures. The boxes will be x-rayed by U.S. Customs before they leave port in Oakland California.  Once they’re cleared in the Israeli port, the U.N. Logistics Cluster will take our boxes from Ashkelon into Gaza, to ABCD for distribution.

If we can raise more funds, we will invite six universities and youth groups to gather clothes and backpacks and fill containers on their campuses, nationwide, this time entirely focused on the needs of children. We call it, Clothe Gaza’s Children, a first step, a personal, tangible way to overcome the illegal blockade, protect civilians, empower local resources and provide accountability.  This non-governmental project engages everyone who seeks a tangible way to help, along with their elected representatives as we press for clear entry of warm clothing and school supplies through the siege, to children in need in Gaza.

You can help. This Wednesday, Oct. 15th, “Clothe Gaza’s Children” is competing for a matching grant in the GlobalGiving Bonus Day, starting at 9am Eastern time. Please go to RebuildingAlliance.org and click GiveNow to receive a 30% match for your donation, while funds last.

Donna Baranski-Walker

Donna Baranski-Walker is founder and Executive Director of Rebuilding Alliance, a U.S. Nonprofit based in Silicon Valley that helps Palestinian villages build affordable homes, schools and most recently, a birthing center and works to make them safe.

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13 Responses

  1. DaBakr on October 14, 2014, 3:48 pm

    “Why? Two reasons: the Government of Israel has yet to allow-in cement and steel ”

    This is actually a bald-faced lie. It is easy enough to google how many 1000s of tonnes of supplies-including cement and construction materials have passed through the keram s. crossing. It is set up to handle far more goods then any other of the crossing points combined. It is also more secure then other sites. Reporters do not seem particularly interested in covering the keram shalom crossing (especially AP) but that does not mean there are not truckloads of supplies -fuel, food, etc. lined up in huge convoys for all the world to see(if only the 100s of field reporters stationed in Jerusalem for AP would get off their butts and drive down there with a camera. Too much trouble, I suppose) Portland cement is absolutely imported by UN sponsored ngos as are other items like epoxies, binders, steel and more. (yes, there are a restrictions on some dual-use items but even these items get through under UNRWA/NGO auspices-) going through the checkpoint daily. Afaik-this is an issue that the msm completely ignores. In addition to the international ngo’s and the unrwa imports the transfer of most supplies is arranged by an entirely Palestinian..
    group of middle-to upper class businessman and women [mention this only to counter the charge that israel is out to destroy the educated middle-to upper middle class Palestinians. Do not believe this is true either]

    • oldgeezer on October 14, 2014, 5:32 pm

      While you may be technically correct that cement, is now moving you speak as if it’s been ongoing.

      Yet jpost even notes it only started today which is likely after the start of the article you were writing on.

      http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Reconstruction-materials-enter-Gaza-for-first-time-since-war-378905

      Given that a lie is an intent/attempt to decieve it would seem the lie is all yours.

      • oldgeezer on October 14, 2014, 5:34 pm

        An edit function would be nice. I should have noted that the date on the article you are commenting on is Oct 14. The date of the jpost article Oct 15th.

      • Shmuel on October 14, 2014, 5:42 pm

        The JPost headline/caption reads: “Truckloads of cement and steal [sic] roll into coastal enclave for the first time in a year.”

        If that’s what the Israelis are allowing through, the Gazans had better steel themselves.

      • oldgeezer on October 14, 2014, 5:45 pm

        lol I missed their error. Given the history of Israel on Palestinian lands it’s likely a Freudian slip.

      • American on October 15, 2014, 10:54 am

        Right oldgezzer
        In my morning news round up all reports say Today was first day of supply trucks being allowed into Gaza.

    • bryan on October 15, 2014, 5:21 pm

      DaBakr – unless JPost and other media have got it wrong it would appear a speedy apology for your libel is urgently required. You should by now be aware that authors on this site are exceedingly careful to take due diligence before criticising Israel and that posters are expert at cross-checking the claims made by hasbaristas.

  2. RebuildingAll on October 15, 2014, 10:29 am

    GlobalGiving’s Bonus Day competition is on and Clothe Gaza’s Children is running in 6th place right now.

    Such a small thing to ask — clothing for children in the cold of winter. Please give now. GG’s Bonus Day ends at 9pm Pacific Time today.

  3. RebuildingAll on October 15, 2014, 2:08 pm

    Please give now. There’s still $20,000 in matching funds and right now Clothe Gaza’s Children is in 2nd place!

    We’ll need 162 more donors if the project is to win the bonus. Here’s the GlobalGiving Leaderboard to follow our progress.

    • Kay24 on October 15, 2014, 10:08 pm

      I did and forwarded it to friends who might be interested. This is a worthy cause, and poor Palestinian families have lost so much because of the brutality of Israel. I am afraid this winter will find many of the cold and suffering. A thousand curses on their occupier.

      • RebuildingAll on October 15, 2014, 11:36 pm

        Thank you — ‘Clothe Gaza’s Children’ is in 3rd place, with 24 min to go. 120 donors so far — and we need 30 more to take 1st place.

        We’ve raised a total of $22,231 — and we’re in 2nd place by most donations. We just need about $2000 more to reach 1st place in ‘most donations’. Whew.

  4. RebuildingAll on October 15, 2014, 7:06 pm

    Clothe Gaza’s Children has raised $20,339 and there’s still another $5400 in matching funds available. We’re just eleven donors below first place.

    You might think that everyone else can give, but look, what you do really does make a difference. If this project wins Most Donors, that extra $1000 bonus is a third the cost of a shipping container… and a container holds about $96,000 worth of donated clothing.

    Please Give Now

  5. RebuildingAll on October 16, 2014, 12:06 am

    So many thanks to the 121 people who gave today! We raised $22,251 for ‘Clothe Gaza’s Children’ and we came-in third by most donors, 2nd in total funds raised. I’ll keep you posted re. next steps. Sincerely, Donna

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