SEATTLE - The countdown to Christmas has begun and, for the person who
has everything, there is one gift with international importance, to fit
almost any budget. A Mercy Kit sends donation money to a Mercy Corps
program selected by the donor in any of 40 countries.
Seth Rue, assistant program officer for the Middle East, has recently
returned to the Northwest headquarters of Mercy Corps from Gaza. He
says the organization's efforts in that war-torn region include working
with teens, hiring the unemployed to keep farming and fishing
industries alive, and emergency food distribution.
"But while filling in those gaps, we're trying to build the capacity of
the local community to respond to their own needs. And so, by the time
we leave - which it is our intent to do - they're going to be able to
respond to their own needs, at the same level."
Rue says that, despite working in some very dangerous areas, Mercy Corps
has an advantage over other non-governmental organizations and aid groups.
"Really, I think Mercy Corps
is unique among other
international NGOs in higher-security environments like Gaza, because
we don't carry any weapons and we don't hire any security details. And
so, the community in most cases is much more open to our programs and
accepting of our presence."
Rue says Mercy Corps
teams stay in an area until the
situation is stabilized, which may take a few months or a few years.
Mercy Kit donations can be used for school supplies, safe drinking
water, youth programs, medical care, and more, and the prices start at
You can see the choices and order the kits online at mercycorps.org