Happy New Year from United Aid Foundation!
A note from Jon Schmitz, UAF Board Chairman
Friends of UAF,
I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving holiday and were able to spend your holidays with loved ones.
This summer I was humbled to have been asked to Chair the Board of the United Aid Foundation and honored to be the next steward leading the organization. Since first volunteering with UAF six years ago, I have grown as an individual, made life-long friends and helped as many people as possible through both fundraising and mission trips to Haiti and Nepal.
We all have our unique reasons for giving to and being a part of the UAF community. In accepting this role, I further reflected on why I am a part of UAF and acknowledged that this is who I am and will always be. It started when I was a young man, earning my Eagle Scout in eastern Washington State, continued with volunteering as an EMT during undergrad in the Bronx and more recently fulfilled when building houses in Haiti and Nepal. In short, UAF and leading the board combines two life-long passions of mine: Service to others and emergency preparedness.
I often think back to my time with the Boy Scouts and how applicable the motto Be Prepared is in everything we do. As I think about how we as a community can further create an impact, I plan to challenge every member of our strong UAF community to further prepare.
One immediate challenge I have for you is to considering a donation to UAF this Giving Tuesday. As we plan and prepare where we can next give direct aid to those who need it most, having your support will help us to further the mission. The ultimate goal with your donation will be further amplification of our efforts, no matter which mission we’re serving, no matter who we’re helping.
Just click here http://www.unitedaidfoundation.org/support-us/
Thank you for your consideration. Health and love to you and yours.
Chairman of the Board, United Aid Foundation
I will be having a Thanksgiving ‘Spirit Dinner’ with my friend Marina Abramovic. I cannot wait to see the menu.
UAF is closing in on 11 years. I would like to give humble and heartfelt thanks to the people here in the U.S. and around the world that United Aid Foundation has been privileged to serve.
Personally, I have received much more than I have given and am forever grateful. We are all connected to each other and everything we do affects everyone else.
A wise friend observed recently that if people would say “Please” and especially “Thank You” more, relationships around the world would be better. I agree.
Thank you to all the friends and supporter of UAF.
Happy Thanksgiving and Peace!
UAF Reaches Jeremie and the Mountain Paths
The United Aid Foundation team of volunteers hit the Haitian dirt running over the weekend.
First heading to Jeremie, the coastal community hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew.
“If you ever want to peak into the gates of hell, the city of Jeremie is the place to begin,” said Mike Wnek, a UAF board member and the leader of our project in Haiti.
“Entire stretches of coastline were obliterated.”
Wnek and his crew delivered food and water to families in need in Jeremie, but noted there is a lot of international aid pouring into the traditional tourist area. So he and the team headed up into the mountain areas to help those who hadn’t been reached yet.
“So many people had their roofs blown off, losing virtually all of the few possessions they had,” Wnek noticed.
Most Haitians are scrambling to find food and clean water. Many haven’t eaten in nearly a week. Children are suffering. Cholera, due to water contamination is a constant worry.
Hospitals are full of the injured and sick. Many of those killed by Matthew had to be buried quickly in mass graves.
Yet despite circumstances that seem bleak, Wnek said the Haitian people are helping each other and doing their best to recover.
“Even though the damage was phenomenal, the spirit and resilience of the Haitians is amazing,” Wnek said. They are already cleaning up, opening the small roadside stands, music is playing in some areas.”
The UAF team delivered more than 8-thousand pounds of rice, 2-thousand pounds of beans, cooking oil and water. The response was smiles, handshakes, gratitude and prayers.
That’s what keeps volunteers going as they travel the difficult roads of Haiti.
UAF volunteer reaches families in crisis
UAF volunteer Janey Alex (on the right) first reacted to the devastating floods in Louisiana by rescuing people in a truck and a kayak.
As the flood waters have receded the crisis has deepened for families who have lost all they own. Janey Alex has now raised more than $800.00. Here Janey introduces us to one of the families she has helped.
“This is Joyce Page from Livingston, LA. Her grandson and his wife’s house flooded. Then her grandson had to leave because he was called up in the Reserves. Joyce has her grandson’s wife and their infant son and young daughter and had limited diapers, wipes, bottles, cleaning supplies, and storage for clothing. We supplied those items and threw in some juice boxes and air freshener because it’s very hot, sometimes there’s no A/C, and the stagnant water can smell very bad.”
Thanks to UAF donors, Joyce and her family have what they need until their crisis has passed.
Your donation can help others who are still waiting in Louisiana. http://www.unitedaidfoundation.org/support-us/
I hope everyone has enjoyed their summer.
It’s been a busy time for United Aid Foundation volunteers and friends.
As we get close to starting a new school year, we have a lot of great news to share about UAF supporting education.
We also have great news that Denisia Pintilie, one of our Romanian kids is in the U.S. on a Rotary Club exchange scholarship. She will spend the year with a Kansas City area family that has supported our Deb’s House project in Romania for many years. Denisia will attend high school as a freshman.
And we will have also be supporting the Hope Grammar School in Lahore, Pakistan. This is a school that provides education to kids who would otherwise be shining shoes or selling fruit on the street.
We will keep you updated on all projects through social media.
UAF has exciting news from the fundraising front that we will be ready to share in the next blog.
A heartfelt thanks to all of our volunteers who have helped make these things possible, proving direct aid to people who need it.
By UAF board member Mary Jane Alex
Who knew a simple pair of cotton underwear could make such a big difference?
Girls in Uganda often do not go to school for parts of each month. Many drop out altogether because they lack the feminine products we often take for granted here.
Periods are not a priority.
As a medical professional, I believe the workings of the human body are pretty darn cool. I don’t want any girl to be ashamed of or limited by the biology that makes them a woman.
When I signed up to travel with Medical Missions Foundation to Uganda last fall, I started thinking about a project to get involved with.
I knew I would be working in the clinic doing Malaria testing but I wanted to do something more.
I saw the postings on Facebook about crayons and toys and dresses for cute little kids, all great and wonderful donations!
But, my mind went to the teenage girls. Was there something we could do for them?
UAF board member and Uganda mission director, Abby Hayo, sent me a link to a product called Afripads.
Wow. I had no clue there was such a thing as reusable pads and they were made right there in Uganda.
But… girls must have underwear to use them. In Uganda, girls often don’t even own one pair.
UAF donated the first $500.00 and we were on our way to making every day of the month a good one for many Ugandan girls.
Then, other volunteers with the medical mission got to work in their respective communities collecting hundreds of pairs underwear, soap and washcloths. They even named the effort, “Rounding Up Undies”.
I am thrilled to say my co-workers at New York Presbyterian Hospital joined people from various companies and nonprofits to donate underwear, bars of soap and over $2,000 in cash.
Afripads only cost $4.00 and can be washed and re-used for up to a year. The goal was to buy 100 Afripads, but we ended up purchasing 600 kits to help girls in Uganda and the country of Mali as well.
Even though I knew they were needed, I didn’t realize what a huge hit the Afripads would be. The girls were so thankful, telling me they could now run, jump and play without fear of accidents or the boys laughing at them!
We gave a simple product that all young women deserve to live with dignity and health; they gave us poems, songs and a lot of ovations.
The joy on their faces was a gift to me.
I’m proud of this program and want to thank everyone who helped for your support. Another great example of United Aid Foundation partnering with people and organizations all over the world.
This time we are keeping young women healthy, safe and in school. What could be better than that?
Note: Medical Missions Foundation will return to Uganda next month. Volunteers are “rounding up undies” again this year.