- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 13, 2001

America's children are heeding President Bush's appeal for them to open their hearts and piggy banks to the children in Afghanistan.
Erin Cross, 9, a fourth-grader at Amidon Elementary in Southwest, said she would donate a dollar from her allowance to Afghan youngsters after learning about their plight in class.
"I feel very sorry that they have to suffer," she said. "It is not their fault that we don't have the twin towers standing today."
Her classmate, Gina Howard, said she wants children in Afghanistan to get the same opportunities as those in America.
"I think those children should have money and be in schools," she said. "They're poor they don't have any food."
For the second time in two days, the president yesterday called on American children to donate one dollar each to a newly created fund administered by the American Red Cross to get food and medicine to Afghan children threatened by the coming winter.
"Ours is a war against terrorism and evil, not against Islam," Mr. Bush said in speech to the March of Dimes foundation. "We're trying to get food to starving Afghans."
U.S.-led military forces this week have bombed military and communication targets in Afghanistan for refusing to turn over Osama bin Laden the Saudi exile blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The president described Afghanistan as one of the most miserable places on earth, where he said one in four children dies before their fifth birthday, one in three is an orphan, and nearly half suffer from chronic malnutrition.
While area school systems say they haven't had time to organize any formal response to the plea, they say that it will be up to individual schools and Parent-Teacher Associations to collect donations.
At Washington Grove Elementary in Gaithersburg, which has a large number of children who get free and reduced-price lunch, Principal Kathy Brake has come up with her own plan to encourage the children to participate.
"I think instead of asking them to donate a dollar, we will ask them if they would like to donate a dime, a cent, a quarter or anything they can give," she said.
Parents said they support the idea.
"When my wife and I heard the idea, we thought it was a good one," said Brad Center, a Fairfax parent and member of the County Council of PTAs.
"It's a unifying concept. It demonstrates with deeds that we are not fighting a war against the Islamic faith or Afghanistan."
* This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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