Blanket Relief

Richard Berger felt the aftershocks of the earthquake in South
Asia this October in the form of the constant stream of news
relaying stories of survivors’ hardship. The tales of the
catastrophe struck Berger as overwhelming, but rather than burying
his head in a pillow until the news cycle changed, the Seattle
entrepreneur started hatching a plan of action.

Berger knew he could do something to save lives, but he was
feeling a bit strapped for cash when the earthquake hit, so he
didn’t just drop a check to a nonprofit in the mail and call it
good. ‘If my finances were in better shape, I would have probably
donated enough for me to feel good about it,’ Berger told Instead, he said, he asked himself the question,
‘What step can I take?’

Berger decided to make a contribution that would provide
tangible relief, and that was also light, inexpensive, and
transportable. After hearing that there weren’t enough winterized
tents in the whole world to provide adequate shelter for people who
were rendered homeless by the quake, he made a trip to an REI store
and purchased several emergency survival blankets. He then called
Adventure Medical Kits, the company that markets what he deemed the
most durable of the blankets; AFMInc., the blanket’s manufacturer;
and the humanitarian relief organization Mercy Corps. Each signed
on to Berger’s campaign,
a story
recollected on Mercy Corps’ website

With the companies and Mercy Corp on board, and a heartfelt
email to 300 people, Berger was able to raise enough funds to
purchase 26,000 blankets to send to Pakistan at $1 each. AFM
pitched in another 3,600 similar blankets. DHL donated its shipping
services and had the first 3,600 en route on November 21, with the
remaining 26,000 in the mail two days later. The blankets are
expected to arrive in Pakistan within a week. Mercy Corps’ Eric
Block says the group will gauge the need for more blankets and may
begin taking donations to enable a second shipment. Meanwhile, it’s

collecting funds for earthquake survivors
. For his part, Berger
hopes that at least another 25,000 blankets will eventually be sent
to Pakistan. ‘With the size of the need, I’m not stopping until
it’s over,’ he said.

Go there >>
Campaign Warms Survivors

Go there too >>

Mercy Corps Donation Site

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