The War Widows project is a collaboration between SoA and Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel Linda Holloway to bring relief to Iraqi women and children affected by the war. In response to LTC Holloway's request, SoA shipped 250 blankets, hygiene kits, linen and towel sets to supply this often overlooked population with vital necessities.
As a result of contributions to SoA's unrestricted fund, we were able to quickly purchase and ship the items in time for LTC Holloway to distribute prior to her rotation out of the country. Her message below describes how much the project benefitted the women and how much they encouraged LTC Holloway herself. She says it better than we ever could so read on:
"I would like to take this opportunity thank all the donors who
contributed to both of my projects "Operation Back Pack" and the "Weeping (War) Widows Project". I was exceedingly excited the amount of enthusiasm the American people showed to support both grassroots programs considering the daily challenges people are facing back home...
The support that was given this project is a sure testament of the American people really caring about what is happening to the women and children of Iraq. I hope that the public will be able to see through the many pictures I have taken the joy and the happiness the gifts they provided brought to women and children in need.
Within a two day period January 10 and 11 LTC Holloway along with the Civil Affair Team-1 in Hadithah had the opportunity to provide services to a total of 735 people. Of those 735 people 535 were children. On January 10, 2008 LTC Holloway, Civil Affair Team -1 along with the local
Iraqi Police distributed a total of 300 backpacks to elementary school age children. The coalition force is moving more and more in the direction of putting an Iraqi face on working with the locals, what is often said is "Iraqis helping Iraqis". This allows the local Iraqis to gain trust in their local officials whether it be the Iraqi Police, Iraqi Army, or the City Council. By gaining this level of trust the people will have more confidence to work side my side with their officials for a better Iraq and will begin to depend less and less on
the assistance of the Coalition Forces . Yes, this is a slow process but it is indeed worth the efforts.
On January 11 2008 we held the War Widows Humanitarian Aid Project where we give the war widows blankets, sheets, towels, personal hygiene kits, clothes, and shoes. We also provide the widows children a backpack filled with school supplies along with a toy. There were a total of 260
women present to receive the prepackaged supplies along with 175 children.
However, I was informed later there were many more women wanting or deserving to come but we had to establish a cut point due to logistics, and supplies that were available. You are always saddened to know that there are so many more women and children desiring the help but you are not able to provide the support. You walk away wishing you could do
more. But, I along with the Iraqi women and children lives that you touched are amazingly appreciative of all the support you have provided to this project.
The thing that impress me the most about Sprit of America is that you had so much faith and confidence in the "Weeping Widows Project" you invested $10,000 in this program upfront prior to the work page being put in place to accept donations for this project. I will always be grateful and surely the many Iraqi women and children whose lives you touched will be even more grateful.
I hope you are able to witness first hand through the pictures that I have provided just how you as willing donors were able to touch the lives of Iraqi women in children.
Often time people ask me if I think what I did made a difference; my response is "I know if I do not do anything surely I have not made a difference, so whatever I do absolutely has made a difference".
Yes, America you have made a difference and continue to make a difference by supporting programs of this nature. The fact that the coalition forces are still here and you, Spirit of America, continue to support us is indeed the greatest difference anyone can make.
I do believe with all my heart one of the greatest sacrifices one can make is to give of themselves and you have done just that America by providing the wonderful gifts to women and children of Iraq.
Yes, it is a long road to travel but believe me Sprit of America when I say you have made the traveling just that much easier with your unwavering support you have provided people like me. I have been privileged to have a lot of jobs in my life time but nothing as rewarding as this one where you know you have touched peoples life not just for that moment but for many years to come.
Sprit of America you have not only just been there to make my tour worthwhile and wholesome but you have and continue to be here to make life for the Iraqi people just that much more bearable. Thank you for believing in my projects and making them a reality in Arabic we say 'Shokran'."
With warmest regards,
LTC Linda J. M. Holloway