U.S. Marines distributed shoes and cold-weather coats to children [in Karmah], Jan. 6.
During Karmah’s coldest months, ranging from 60 degrees during the day to freezing temperatures after dusk, many children are without winter apparel and some even without shoes on their feet.
The unit’s chaplain, Navy Lt. Brandon Harding, initiated the effort by contacting various non-profit organizations throughout the U.S. for donations.
The clothing drive was the fifth the Marines have coordinated, donating approximately 4,500 pounds of clothing overall.
“The response has been overwhelming,” Harding said. “It’s amazing to see how generous Americans are. Hopefully it helps [Iraqi people] see we’re good people."
Iraqi children lined up by the dozens, patiently waiting to receive a pair of shoes and a coat to combat the biting cold at sundown.
The children were more than enthusiastic and could not stop smiling and thanking the Marines and Sailors for the valued donations.
“It’s very good,” said Hamid Naief, a father of seven residing in central Karmah. “From the first time [Coalition forces] got here, things have been very good. This shows the generosity first hand.
Naief said even as the city’s economic situation slowly improves, it is still difficult to afford clothing for his children and he can not say enough about how much the donation helps his family at such a pivotal time.
“We need it so much,” he said. “I do not like seeing the kids go to school or to play with bare feet and without jackets. The Americans helping us means so much. They are our friends and we thank them.”
(By Lance Cpl. Achilles Tsantarliotis, Regimental Combat Team 1)
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