Seton students send supplies to their Afghan peers - Catholic Courier

Seton students send supplies to their Afghan peers

BRIGHTON — Although there was plenty of candy at her birthday party, 10-year-old Abby Hentschke didn’t get to eat any of it.
 
Instead, Abby helped pack up the candy as well as school supplies in trunks bound for Afghanistan.
 
“This is my birthday party,” explained Abby, a fourth-grader at Seton Catholic School. “I invited all my family around here, and we are going to work.”
 
Abby’s family and her classmates stuffed pens, pencils, pencil sharpeners, markers, protractors, composition books, maps and other supplies, and notes from students into zip-top bags. The bags were then packed into the trunks in Seton’s gym on Saturday, Nov. 21.
 
The shipment of trunks was arranged by U.S. Army Maj. Edward “Ted” Kuppinger, an information operations officer who is deployed with the Combined Joint Task Force — 82. This unit is responsible for 14 provinces in eastern Afghanistan along the Pakistan border. It collaborates with international security forces and the Afghan government to build peace in the region.
 
Kuppinger’s wife, Karen, said the idea for the care packages originated when friends and other Seton parents asked her how they could help support her husband during his deployment, which is his second to Afghanistan. Ted Kuppinger sent word that school supplies were needed for distribution to several Afghan schools.
 
Since the couple has two children at Seton, the school-supply project soon spread to the whole school. Each grade level brought in particular items and community members also pitched in. For instance, the Palmyra-Macedon Rotary Club donated $500, which covered the purchase of 100 world maps and helped cover the cost of postage.
 
The trunks were sent to Operation Care, a nonprofit charity based at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan that distributes donated supplies and amenities to children and U.S. and coalition soldiers.
 
“It’s just been a wonderful response, and the kids have learned so much,” Karen Kuppinger said.
 
One thing the students learned about was that both women and men wear scarves in Afghanistan. Prior to the shipment of school supplies, the Afghan schools sent over hundreds of scarves — one for each student at the school.
 
“All day long, each child wore a scarf to help the kids get a connection,” said fourth-grade teacher Pat Bertucci.
 
Abby wore hers, a green-and-blue striped scarf, to the care-package event, along with a button that announced it was her birthday. She said her family was very supportive of the nontraditional birthday party.
 
“My Grandma and Grandpa were pretty happy because they are always doing church things,” Abby said. “I think they thought it would be really fun.”
 
Her mother, Amy Hentschke, a parishioner of St. Mary Church in Rochester, said she was impressed that her brothers and sisters were willing to be at the school at 9:30 a.m. on a Saturday for the project. She said she also was impressed with her daughter’s thoughtfulness.
 
“I thought it was a wonderful idea,” Amy Hentschke said.
 
EDITOR’S NOTE: For details on sending care packages to Afghanistan, visit www.operationcare.net.

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