You Can Help the Suffering People of Sri Lanka
by Gary and Joy Lundberg

Editor’s Note: Here are simple instructions for immediately helping relieve the suffering of the Tsunami victims in Sri Lanka.  Please get involved.  It is also a great opportunity to invite your neighbors, your scout troop, your extended family or any group who would like to be involved in doing something to help others.

We first met our Muslim friend Asim Alavi online when he volunteered to help sponsor a Save the Family meeting through his organization Serendib Institute of Research and Development in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he serves as a  director. We were impressed with his desire and dedication to unite people of all faiths in his country in the cause of protecting family values.  A few months after receiving his report of a very successful community meeting, we met him personally in Doha, Qatar at the Doha International Conference for the Family. 

A few weeks preceding the conference we learned of the depth of this man’s faith.  He desperately wanted to attend this conference, but did not have the funds to pay the costly travel expenses.  All of our funds at the World Family Policy Center were expended.  He said he would pray for a miracle, and we joined him in that prayer.  Two days later we received an email from him saying, “God has made the miracle.  I’m coming to the conference!” 

Gary and Joy Lundberg with Asim Alavi (right of Joy) from Sri Lanka, at the Doha International Conference for the Family in Qatar, Nov 2004.

Those were happier times for him.  Only a few weeks later the terrible tsunami disaster struck.  His country has suffered the loss of tens of thousands of lives and untold destruction.  After seeing the news we immediately emailed Asim to see if he was okay.  A couple of days later we received his reply.   He thanked us for our concern, saying he had been out of the country when it hit, but his wife and children were at home. He wrote the following (notice the past tense “lived”):

“We lived closer to the sea in the southern part of the country.  Water came to my home but my wife and children were able to escape, thank God almighty.  Thank you very much for including us in your prayers. The catastrophe is unimaginable – only a matter of less than 10 minutes, over 30,000 dead only in Sri Lanka.  I am now fully involved in the administration of relief supplies to various parts of the country.” 

Families surviving with help of others.

Then he wrote back again.  “Would you show some kindness and love to the children who lost their loved ones in the disaster ? I am sure as Mormon you would !   I saw thousands of them who are so small that they are unable to comprehend what their future would be. Can your Church group sponsor any studies (school supplies) or relief packages for these innocent little ones? Is any humanitarian intervention possible?”

Receiving donations.

We had donated to the fast offering fund as requested by the prophet, as we’re sure most members of the church did, and will continue to do so, but we could see we needed to do more.  This disaster is so enormous that it’s going to take many willing hearts and hands to give the relief that is needed.  According to the Church News (Jan 15, 2005) humanitarian aid is beginning to arrive in parts of Sri Lanka, and other stricken areas.  Their task is enormous.  It almost seems insurmountable.

The devastation.

The words of Anne Perry in her Meridian article Why Does God Allow It hit home.  She said, “We can’t help everybody, but we can help somebody.  Don’t let the enormity of it overtake us, none of us are alone.  We have to do something, we don’t have to do everything.”  Well, with your help, we can do something, and it can be significant.

The dead and the weary living.

As we were preparing this article for Scot and Maurine to review, we read the amazing article LDS Tourist Recalls Tsunami by Kirk K. Peterson. Through Brother Peterson’s eyes we relived the tragedy and felt the realness of it-a fitting narration just as we were seeking help for Sri Lanka, the very country where he was.

Remains of a hospital.

We love how the Lord works.  We pray and He begins connecting the dots.  Actually, we suspect that he begins connecting the dots long before we start the praying part.  It’s probably through praying that we end up being some of the dots that he’s connecting.  We made some inquiries in our ward and found that one of our ward members, Scott Evensen, has been doing humanitarian work with his company in Salt Lake City.  They partner with Paul Holton, known affectionately as Chief Wiggles, who sponsors the Fill the Plane Campaign through his Operation Give. Through Scott and Paul more dots were connected and now we are partnering with them and will be able to send any amount of aid we can gather to Sri Lanka, and it will go directly to Asim and his co-sponsor Human Care Foundation.  Through Operation Give, FedEx will pick up anywhere in the U.S. and ship at NO cost!  This is a miracle in the making.

Women crying at coffins.

Now all we need are more dots.  That’s where you come in.  Just imagine, now you can almost reach out and touch the hands of these suffering little children and those who are trying so hard to help them.  You can be God’s hands in succoring the suffering.  You can also involve your  friends and neighbors of other faiths.  This can actually be a beautiful missionary opportunity as you work together. You can help by joining us in our campaign. 

Please read and following instructions. If you have questions, please email us at [email protected]. Let us know if you are participating.

Humanitarian Aid for Tsunami Victims in Sri Lanka

In Cooperation with Fill the Plane Campaign in Salt Lake City and Human Care Foundation of Sri Lanka

Organizers Gary and Joy Lundberg – 801-224-3447 – [email protected]

Target Date for Items to be Picked Up by FedEx: Feb. 7 or sooner if possible

Children in Sri Lanka who were left orphaned by the tsunami are suffering. They are in desperate need and we can help. Following is the list of items we are collecting for kits to go to Sri Lanka for these children. Volunteers can collect the Children’s Kit items, put the items in a small white or clear plastic bag, and tape shut. Mark “Children’s Kit” (with size of shoes and tee shirt) on outside of bag, then box them for delivery. Health Kits can be put into gallon Zip lock bags, marked Health Kit. For School Supplies have what ever many of the items you can collect, put them in a box marked School Supplies with contents listed on outside.

Have boxes delivered to a designated home. Paul Horton (also known as Chief Wiggles) needs you to email him at [email protected] when you have the kits ready to go, and he will email you back with the FedEx account number to use on the pick up form, and that signals them that shipping is free for the Sri Lanka project.

Then you will call your local FedEx to schedule a pick up. (FedEx is doing this in the US at NO cost whether it be one or many boxes, but you must have the account number from Paul). On your boxes, please CLEARLY mark them “Fill the Plane – Sri Lanka, for M. Asim Alavi, C/O Human Care Foundation” so we know it is intended for this campaign.  Delivery address for boxes is:  Bridgepoint Systems, Operation Give, 542 W. Confluence Ave., Salt Lake City, UT 84123

Please email the Lundbergs with the result of your local campaign –

Organizers can decide how many kits and supplies they want to collect, send around sign-up sheets at church, club meetings or call friends and neighbors asking what they would like to donate.  Below is a sample sign-up sheet, based on a goal of 50 kits (you decide how many kits you can assemble).  Some people prefer giving money and you buy the items.  If you have questions email the Lundbergs at [email protected] or call them at 801-224-3447 or call Tracy at 801-377-1255 in Provo, Utah.  THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HELPING!!

Sample Sign-up Sheet:

We need the following items to make 50 or more kits from our location for victims of the tsunami in Sri Lanka.  Sign name and phone number, and how many of an item you can donate.  We need 50 of each line item to create 50 kits and as many supplies as possible for the schools.  All items in the Children’s Kit and Health Kit must be NEW.  Some items on the School Supplies list can be used if in like-new condition.  Dollar stores are a good place to shop, or ask stores for donations or discounts.

Children’s Kit

. Teddy bear or stuffed animal – under 10″

. Coloring book and crayons

. Flip flops or other shoes,  4, 5, 6, 7, 8 inches long

. Tee shirt – child size medium or large, any color

. 1 hand towel (15″ x 25″ up to 17″ x 27″)

. 1 comb (large and sturdy, not pocket-sized)

. 1 bath-size bar of soap (3 oz. and up)

. 1 toothbrush (single brushes only in original wrapper)

. 1 large tube of toothpaste (expiration date must be 6 months or longer)

. 6 Bandaids

School Supplies

(These items have been specifically requested and will be distributed at schools among students and teachers-both are in need)

. Children back packs or school bags (may be the only place they have to keep their things)

. School bags for teachers

. Writing tablets (try to get office supply stores to donate)

. Pens and pencils

. Math and reading exercise books for lower grades

. Wall clocks for schools

. Scientific calculators for students of higher grades

Health Kit

Health kits provide basic necessities to people who have been forced to leave their homes.

. 1 hand towel (15″ x 25″ up to 17″ x 27″)

. 1 washcloth

. 1 comb (large and sturdy, not pocket-sized)

. 1 nail file or fingernail clippers (no emery boards or toenail clippers)

. 1 bath-size bar of soap (3 oz. and up)

. 1 toothbrush (single brushes only in original wrapper)

. 1 large tube of toothpaste (expiration date must be 6 months or longer)

. 6 adhesive plastic strip sterile bandages

Place these items inside a sealed one-gallon plastic bag.

Name and phone:  Items  Number of items________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________