Doubling up on efforts as volunteer groups join forces

2013/01/24

Gulbagh – Coalition members from Camp Eggers and Camp Morehead’s Volunteer Community Relations groups unload and sort supplies at a local clinic in Gulbagh, Afghanistan, Dec. 7. All supplies, including winter jackets, shoes, toys, blankets and other clothing, were given out to local nationals from the surrounding villages. Photo by MC3 (SW) Sean Weir.

KABUL – NTM-A/CSTC-A’s Camp Eggers Volunteer Community Relations (VCR) committee partnered with the Camp Morehead VCR committee, handing out warm clothes and fuel to many of the neediest people in the seven villages surrounding Camp Morehead, Kabul, Dec. 7, 2013.

Hundreds of people arrived at a local clinic near Camp Morehead to receive their share of clothing and supplies.

“The intent was to disseminate coats, gloves, hats and scarves in addition to fuel prior to the worst part of winter,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Ashley Housley, director of Camp Eggers VCR committee. “The target donation group was women and children in southern Kabul. They have very limited resources and are in desperate need of warm clothing, fuel and basic supplies.”

Locals received clothes according to how many family members they had and the age of each member.

“It is almost too much,” said Camilla, a mother of four from the village of Gulbagh. “It is so good for my family. I was able to get something for everyone. Thank you so much.”

A line of people waited to enter the clinic from the time the event started until it closed.

“The mission was extremely successful. We donated items to roughly 300 people from the local area and disseminated an entire shipping container worth of warm clothing and fuel. We will definitely do more missions like this in the future,” said Housley.

Personnel from the two camps received all the donations via friends and family both in the United States and abroad. “We are always accepting donations,” said Housley.

The VCR program has been up and running at Camp Eggers for more than four years but is relatively new to Camp Morehead.

“We stood our VCR program up about three weeks ago,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Tony Milbut, Camp Morehead VCR coordinator. “This is our first official event. Having Camp Eggers VCR here to help with donations and manpower is huge. We are currently getting our own fuel donut program running, and we look forward to collaborating with Camp Eggers again.”

Housley explained that the VCR is important for several different reasons, the most profound being the ability to reach out to the needy citizens of Kabul and provide direct, tangible assistance.

“The Afghans have dealt with decades of warfare and are in desperate need of assistance. Although on a relatively small scale, we provide assistance in the form of meeting their basic needs: fuel, warmth, and hygiene items. The VCR also helps meet the Counter Insurgency (COIN) objectives of our leadership in that we are able to help win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people,” she continued.

But the VCR doesn’t just benefit the Afghans, Housley added. She said the VCR uplifts coalition forces as well and raises morale. Coalition members are able to see a different side of Afghanistan by interacting with the local population on a very personal level and seeing a direct impact.

“Seeing another VCR branch start at Camp Morehead is great,” Housley said. “Working with the VCR is one of the things I’m most proud of in my time in Afghanistan.”

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