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Ways to help refugees

Staff reports

With so many ethnic Albanian Muslims driven from their homes and separated from their families while waiting out the air strikes, Americans have an opportunity to really help people.

How do you go about it? How do you know which is the right organization and what is the best thing to give now – money, clothes or food?

A phone number has been set up by the U.S. government for those who want suggestions about how to give. Call (800) USAID RELIEF.

The American Red Cross International Response Fund is also one option.

“You can definitely help from home now. They are definitely needy as a result of this horrible situation,” said Judy Henderson of the Red Cross in Reno.

The Red Cross, in addition to delivering goods to refugees, also helps make the soldier’s time away from home a little more comfortable. They are in need of items such as hot chocolate/cider mix, microwave popcorn, assorted candy, cold drink mixes, small games and playing cards. Soldiers are also requesting high school English grammar books to help teach language skills to their foreign counterparts.

Send these items to:

n American Red Cross, Attn: Station Manager, HQS 1st CD G-1 (Tuzla Main), Operation Joint Forge, APO AE 09789.

For monetary donations, send checks to:

n American Red Cross International Response Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013, or call (800) HELP NOW.

According to a Web site called ReliefWeb at http://wwwnotes.reliefweb, InterAction, a coalition of more than 160 U.S.-based private relief development and refugee assistance agencies, the most useful form of assistance is cash.

It is cheaper and easier for agencies to buy food and supplies in Europe and transport them to the refugees from there, the site read.

The site also suggested using only well-established agencies and non-profit organizations you are familiar with.

The site lists various agencies and gives suggestions such as:

n Catholic Relief Services, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, M.D. 21203, or call (800) 736-3467.

n International Medical Corps, 11500 W Olympic Blvd., Suite 5006, Los Angeles, C.A., 90064-1052, or call (800) 481-4462.

n International Orthodox Christian Charities, P.O. Box 630225, Baltimore, M.D. 21263-0225, or call (410) 243-9820.

For more information, check InterAction’s Web site.