helping earthquake victims
By Bill McCauley
Greenwood Mennonite School elementary and middle school students are
raising money to buy tents for Turkish earthquake victims. The effort
comes as a result of a recent visit to the school by Ron Embleton,
who, as a former teacher of English in Turkey, witnessed the destruction.
Visiting the school Nov. 1, Embleton, a graduate of the school, showed
pictures and told students about the hardships of earthquake survivors.
He cited the acute need for tents that are suitable for the winter.
"We feel we are racing the clock," he said. "Winter is right around
the corner and nights are uncomfortably cold," he said.
Embleton told the students that the earthquake on Aug. 17, and subsequent
after-shocks, resulted in a loss of 13,500 lives and made 500,000
homeless. The Mennonite Church participation is part of a broader
Protestant group effort to show the Muslim world that Christians care
Embleton said that in addition to the cold, northwestern Turkey also
experiences 18 inches of rain a month during the winter. To be comfortable,
the tents cannot be placed on the cold, wet ground but instead are
put on platforms.
Finnish-designed and Turkish-manufactured tents are the solution,
he said. Each tent costs $750.
The original appeal was for each family with children at G.M.S. to
donate $10 toward purchase of tents.
But since then, elementary and middle school students have adopted
the purchase of tents as their annual Christmas project.
year the school has a tradition of giving to needy persons, near or
far away, in lieu of a gift exchange. The students are endeavoring
to raise $1,500, enough for two tents. Money earned by the student
government organization through the sale of ice cream sundaes during
lunch will be added to the total.
Each homeroom has its fund raising success measured on a poster.
Large posters left by Embleton depicting an aged Turkish man standing
in front of destroyed buildings serve as a reminder of the victims'
Following graduation from the Mennonite School in 1980, Embleton attended
Rosedale Bible College in Ohio. He became a missionary in Albuquerque,
N.M., and then was assistant minister at a church in Ohio before going
He has been there for three years, though at the time of the earthquake
he was in Ohio with his family preparing to return. He has made several
trips back to Turkey. In the states he is active in visiting churches
and schools. Embleton's goal is to raise money and heighten awareness
of the plight of earthquake victims in Turkey.
Said fifth-grader Megan Landis of her reason for wanting to help,
"They have next to nothing so we need to help them out."
Said first-grader Alan Landis, "There are a lot of kids who have lost
moms and dads and they need a place to live and food."