- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 9, 2001

President Bush thanked American children yesterday for filling a Maryland warehouse with winter coats and teddy bears for the children of Afghanistan.
"We have given the Afghan children something to smile about because American children are generous and kind and compassionate," Mr. Bush said at the facility in New Windsor operated by the Church of the Brethren in cooperation with the American Red Cross.
"This first shipment represents the good will of the American people and our hopes and desires that the plight of Afghan children improves," Mr. Bush told more than 100 children, their parents and relief workers.
Mr. Bush's appeal to youngsters to donate coins and dollar bills whatever they could afford brought in more than $1.5 million. The fund-raising drive was meant, in part, to highlight the humanitarian side of the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan.
"This is a reminder that we are at war with the Taliban regime, not with the good, innocent people of Afghanistan," the president said.
Mr. Bush spoke before a stack of 18 large cardboard containers waiting to be loaded with other supplies onto trucks.
The boxes contain an assortment of practical goods and toys that the Red Cross will distribute by truck from neighboring Turkmenistan to children and their families in northern Afghanistan. The shipment, to be flown to the region by Federal Express, includes 1,500 tents and 1,658 winter jackets. Each of 10,000 gift parcels includes winter hats, soap, school supplies, wool socks, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, crayons, almonds, lollipops and teddy bears.
"Each parcel is marked this way: 'A gift to Afghan children from American children,'" Mr. Bush said. "It's written in several local languages."
He added that the true message of the shipment is "Love knows no boundaries."
The supplies were to depart Washington Dulles International Airport today.
Mr. Bush said that Afghanistan's 10 million children have suffered from decades of civil war, drought, hunger and, lately, the repression of the Taliban regime.
"One in three of Afghan children is an orphan," he said. "Almost half of Afghan children suffer from malnutrition. One in four Afghan children won't live beyond their fifth birthday."

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