Military families help orphanage from home
ROUND LAKE -- When soldiers go off to war, their families are left behind to wait for their return -- and to wonder what they can do to help in the effort.
Such is the case for Lori Lanphere Kruger, whose husband, Scott, is a sergeant with the B-Battery of the 1-125th Field Artillery, a National Guard unit based in Jackson and Fairmont.
Since her husband left for Iraq in March, Kruger and the Family Readiness Group she leads have pondered what they could do to help deliver hope to the Iraqi people.
Thanks to a recent newsletter sent to families of soldiers in the 125th (also known as the Red Bull division), Kruger found an opportunity not only to help the soldiers, but also to provide support to the women and children of Iraq and teach their own children valuable lessons about giving.
The 125th's Civil Affairs team, Kruger learned, is seeking donated items to provide to children living in the Ash Shamuli Orphanage -- not far from the base where members of the Jackson and Fairmont units are stationed south of Baghdad.
"The Chaplain with our unit wants to get sewing machines for the orphanage to help women earn their own living," Kruger said.
The machines are for women who have lost their husbands -- either as a result of the war or illness. In Iraq, Kruger said, the men are considered to be the breadwinners of the family.
In addition to the sewing machines, Kruger said the team plans to send donated children's clothing, toys, school supplies and toiletry items such as diapers and hygiene products to the orphanage's children.
"There's such poverty in the area where our guys are," she said. "It blesses us to do this, and it blesses the (recipients)."
Each member of the Family Readiness Group will have the task of seeking donated items for the orphanage, with the group gathering once per month to box items and prepare them for shipment to Iraq.
"Whatever way we can support them over there definitely helps us get through the time (while the soldiers are in Iraq)," Kruger said.
She has set a goal of sending about 20 boxes filled with items for the orphanage each month. To avoid sending things that won't be used, Kruger said she will distribute detailed lists of items for members of the Family Readiness Group.
"Everybody wants to help the soldiers so much, but now that we know the bases are established over there and their food needs are met (there are other ways to help)," Kruger said. "It's just another great opportunity for us to show our kids how much we have as far as freedom and material goods."
There are approximately 125 members serving in the B-Battery of the 1-125th Jackson-Fairmont unit. Of those, Kruger said about 30 families attend the regular monthly meetings of the Family Readiness Group.