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Charity begins at home

The tsunami that wiped out Indonesia is on everyone’s mind and there are many speculating if it is an indication of &uot;The beginning of the end.&uot;

Thus far, the disaster in South Asia has claimed more than 120,000 lives — many of them children.

There are many ways to consider what some see as &uot;the wrath of God,&uot; but we must also consider that people are suffering in those nations and we need to help them. I am a believer in the old adage, charity begins at home, but I also believe what Jesus taught, we are to love one another above all else.

Help is flowing into the affected areas, but according to the Red Cross and other relief agencies, there is no way to get the millions of pounds of aid to the Indonesian people. Roads and highways were destroyed by the mountain of water that roared over their coastal areas and even if they had vehicles left in the disaster, there is no way to travel through the devastation that was once their nation.

One Gates County woman has taken on the gigantic task of organizing an effort to get the people a way they can help themselves. Jackie Phillips, of the Buckland area of Gates, is trying to gather up 1,000 or more bicycles to send to the Indonesian people. It’s the primary mode of transportation over there anyway, as she noted, and by sending the bikes, they will have a way to get to food, clothing and medical supplies being shipped into the nation.

Phillips, along with her husband, Bill, cannot begin to collect 1,000 bikes alone. She is contacting many people, including employees at local refuse collection sites, to alert her to any junked bikes. She is collecting from friends, neighbors, businesses, and just about any individual with a bicycle to donate; no matter what shape it’s in.

As the bikes are collected, she’s turning them over to the inmates in Gates County, and even they are doing their part to help the victims of the tsunami. They are taking repair parts and refurbishing the bikes so that they can be shipped overseas. She’s even enlisted the aid of a trucking company and a shipping line to help out.

Can we find it in our hearts to step up to the plate to help this couple help the people of Indonesia? Remember… it could have been another American disaster.

Remember the events of 9-11? Who is to say that our beautiful, God-blessed nation will not be victimized in some natural or man-made disaster once again? I don’t even want to think about such a thing, but we are also all too susceptible. Think of Hurricane Isabel who recently showed us how venerable we are.

I would urge you to give consideration to helping Phillips with this &uot;Bicycle Ministry.&uot; There are many organizations out there to contribute to, but shouldn’t this charity also begin at home, right here in Gates County?

Who knows, we may someday need to ask for help ourselves. It may not be a tsunami, but rest assured, we will need help someday.

If you would like to help Phillips, earmark checks for the Bicycle Ministry and mail them to Wachovia Bank, PO Box 827, Ahoskie, N.C., 27901. All donations are tax deductible.

Also, the following are accepting donations for aid they or affiliates will provide to those affected by the deadly tsunami in Asia.

Action Against Hunger

247 West 37th Street, Suite 1201

New York, NY 10018

212-967-7800

www.aah-usa.org

ADRA International

Asia Tsunami Crisis Fund

12501 Old Columbia Pike

Silver Spring, MD 20904

800-424-2372

www.adra.org

Air Serv International

6583 Merchant Place, Suite 100

Warrenton, VA 20187

www.airserv.org