Global Tourism Industry and the Liberian Economy

first_imgLiberian National developmental plan “Liberia Rising/Vision 2030” aimed at addressing the remaining constraints to growth so that the country can achieve middle-income status by 2030 is on course. The vision 2030 or the Agenda for Transformation (AfT) also supports initiatives that allow a greater proportion of the population to share in the growth and experience to achieve quality of life and consider the usage of natural resources of the country as a mean for bringing development to every sector of the economy.It is the hope of ordinary Liberians that in order to realize this National Vision, development will consider all aspects of the economy including Conservation and Tourism.Why is tourism so important to global economic development? Rapid and continuous growth over the past twenty years has made tourism one of the world’s most significant sources of employment and of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Tourism particularly benefits developing economies, where most of the sector’s new tourism jobs and businesses are being created. This rapid growth has encouraged many developing nations to view tourism as a key component to their economic portfolios. Tourism as defined by the United Nations is activities of people traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for at least one night and no more than one consecutive year for leisure, business, and other purposes. Is Liberia therefore qualified for Tourism in this definition?The answer is yes! Liberia’s environment is yet intact in so many aspects: Land outlook, rivers, lakes, mountains, weather, lagoons and biological diversity.The Liberian people’s culture and language all qualify them for this important industry.  But why have Liberians not ventured into the industry for sustainable development? In the recent publication of the government’s development agenda (Vision 2030) the crafters wrote: “The Liberian economy is largely dependent on extractive industries (timber, rubber, minerals, etc) and agriculture. Thus, environment and natural resources clearly underpin Liberia’s social and economic development. The environment is the base for mineral wealth and must therefore be effectively managed to ensure sustainable livelihoods and economic development and growth. The linkage of environment, development, and poverty must be appreciated if Liberia is to achieve sustainable development.”This is rightfully stated, but where are we in making this a reality when our environment is not being used for sustainable development except aiming at the extractive industry that depletes the resources. Why not consider sustainable tourism?Tourism offers opportunities for economic and social development where few other economic opportunities exist. Tourism jobs are geographically widespread and they can be created with lower capital investment unlike in other sectors. Furthermore, the large variety of jobs in the sector offers employment opportunities for people lacking formal qualifications that can thereafter acquire skills and advance their careers.Tourism sector creates jobs that help conserve the nation’s rich flora fauna (plants, flowers vegetation). The opportunity to achieve economic and social development for communities using what those communities themselves own while at the same time helping to conserve the country’s unique natural environment is a better offer for Liberia, a society that is under developed. It will help in providing jobs for women and girls that are more vulnerable in our today’s Liberia.As unemployment is high, presently put at about 30%, there is a need to create increased employment opportunities. Tourism is a major source of foreign exchange (and via domestic tourism the retention of foreign exchange within the country). Tourism has a substantial economic multiplier effect and generates tax revenues for Government. It has proven to augments the GDP of many poor African countries including The Gambia, which heavily relies on tourism and peanuts, and it can also do it for Liberia.The potential of Liberia’s tourism sector is enormous. Liberia is endowed with 350 miles of pristine coastline beach. It also offers a wide range of unique and exciting natural, cultural and historical resources that will, if planned and managed effectively, attract increasing numbers of tourists.When tourism is sustainable there are benefits for all including travelers, companies providing the tourism, and to interests within the host community. Let say, the people of Sinoe taking over the ownership of the SAPO National Park and setting up a local committee to manage the Park, there will be employment and development own and initiated by the people of Sinoe County. A step by step process will see the people of Grand Cape Mount and the Lake PISO join, the Kpatawe Waterfall and sure, they will be followed by several others.When local communities are involved in sustainable tourism, they enjoy improved local employment opportunities, increased opportunities for local enterprises, improved infrastructure and access to services, and increased participation in decision-making. This is democracy and this is development for the people and by the people! Liberia, like many other African countries, has majority of the people who are poor and generally depend on natural ecosystems for their livelihoods.  Most of these communities are directly dependent on the use and trade of natural resources for their livelihoods, but there are no policies on Sustainable Tourism which could help enhance the livelihood alternatives of these people.So how far is Liberia from the Global Tourism industry?  …..To be continuedShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Women Entrepreneurs Showcase Produce at 2016 Small Business Conference

first_imgA report on Gender in Liberia outlines that the majority of farmers are women who represent more than 50 percent of the country’s farming population and also serve as processors and entrepreneurs. They are reportedly producing more than 60 percent of Liberia’s agricultural output.Despite the important role women play in agriculture, they are sometimes not recognized as major players in the promotion of food security in Liberia. Women farmers are faced with more challenges than their male counterparts, ranging from the difficulty to acquire farmland, limited skills in improved farming technologies and limited access to credit. Moreover, most women farmers in the country are still farming at subsistence level with no business knowledge to enable them commercialize their produce.This year’s small business conference organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry highlighted the promotion of Liberian female entrepreneurs for economic empowerment.Several women in small businesses participated in the conference to showcase their achievements over the years and to highlight challenges that are facing their businesses in order for government to formulate and regulate needed policies for their advancement and to enhance a better business environment for the growth of the economy.Some of the challenges the women outlined during the panel discussion at the conference include the constant abuse of market women engaged in cross border trade, limited access to loans, and limited market opportunities.The women are recommending to the government the establishment of a special banking institution that will cater only to business women.Patricia Keith is one of the female entrepreneurs who participated in this year’s small business conference. She is the executive director of the Paton Farming Enterprise that specializes in food processing with support from the Liberia Agri-business Development Activity (LADA), a Feed the Future global food security initiative of the U.S government for Liberia.During the conference, Patricia disclosed that she started her career in agriculture as a farmer, but has had a challenging experience from the beginning.“I was once a farmer growing different varieties of vegetables, but had no buyers for my produce. I later decided to get into food processing to add value to my produce to improve my income. Currently, my processing center produces 25 “made in Liberia” products. This is helping me to realize better earnings than when I was a farmer.”Patricia observes that the lack of improved processing and packaging opportunities were major constraints facing women food processors.“Women must be empowered in farming and processing activities to enable them to become more productive to support their families,” she said.Meanwhile, the LADA project is expected to develop the capacities of Liberian female entrepreneurs for the export market to increase incomes.For her part, Julie James, a member of the Center for Women Agriculture Program in Nimba County, said her organization is engaged in cocoa production for livelihood income.She stressed the need for the government and partners to develop the skills of women in the cocoa sector to produce quality products for the markets. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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EPA, MPW, MME, LWSC, Please Awake to the Water Challenges!

first_imgThe Daily Observer newspaper is not today complaining about water.Why? Because to do that would be ingratitude to God who has given us, unlike so many other countries, especially fellow West African neighbors in the Sahel, bordering the Sahara Desert, so much rainfall and so many rivers and lakes that we have more than enough water! So how can we complain?Far from complaining, we are making an urgent appeal to the four Agencies of Government that are chiefly responsible for managing water and the general environment.  They are, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) and the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC).We are today appealing to these Agencies to take seriously their responsibility for managing the nation’s water, and thereby relieve the Liberian people of the grave inconveniences that bedevil them during the heavy rains.Last weekend’s rains were a typical example.  Monday’s edition already carried a story on the Johnsonville, Montserrado County’s heavy downpour that left so many stranded, forcing them to take off their footwear and lift their garments as they waded through lakes of water, while even many of their homes were flooded, with everything soaked.Perhaps the most difficult area in Montserrado County was the first Old Road Junction in Sinkor, hear former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s home, where there occurred a massive flood that made it nearly impossible for motor vehicles to pass, causing a major traffic jam that lasted several hours, both Monday and Tuesday.  A trip to Monrovia from Paynesville and Congo Town that took not more than 30 to 45 minutes lasted for more than four hours!This is not the first time we have appealed to Water and Sewer, Public Works and other Agencies to use their expertise to fix this problem.  Our question today is, how long it will take Liberian engineers to fix these perennial problems.  Another area that faces a serious water bottleneck every year is the Depot of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) sub-station in Paynesville.  Frequently floods of water on the Paynesville corridor near the LEC substation at Joe Bar is flooded, making it very difficult for pedestrians and motor vehicles to pass.Are there no engineers at EPA, Public Works and Water and Sewer to deal decisively with these flood problems?  Why must our people be confronted with these flood problems every single year?  What are their engineers learning in school that makes it impossible for them to deal decisively with these problems?The purpose of universities is to train students to SOLVE PROBLEMS.  We today call on the J.J.R. Faulkner College of Science and Technology at the University of Liberia (UL) to take their students around greater Monrovia—to Sonowhein, Old Road Junction, Paynesville Joe Bar Junction, Johnsonville and other waterlogged areas in the city to study the problems these areas face during the heavy rains and do what they can bring permanent solutions to flooding.There is absolutely no need for these areas to face the same problems every year.  At 171 years old, the time has long past when Liberia should be able to solve its own problems.  Let the EPA, MME, MPW and LWSC get together, hang heads and put their engineering skills to work to solve these basic water problems.And please do not approach a single foreign entity for assistance in this initiative.  At 171 years old, it is about tine that we Liberians learn to solve our own problems, especially water, with which God has so richly blessed us.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Fisherman who shot at City Constable jailed

first_imgMagistrate Annette Singh on Tuesday jailed a 25-year-old man after he was found guilty of discharging a firearm at a rank of the City Constabulary.Kevin Allicock of James Street, Albouystown, Georgetown, had pleaded not guilty to the charge, which stated that on August 15, 2019, at Orange Walk, Bourda, Georgetown, he discharged a loaded firearm at City Constabulary rank, Brent Walcott, with the intent to maim, disfigure, or cause grievous bodily harm.The trial concluded on Tuesday and Magistrate Singh informed Allicock that there was sufficient evidence and as such, she found him guilty of the offence.According to the prosecution’s case, at about 05:30h, Allicock was observed by a City Constable attempting to scale the western fence of Bourda Market. The prosecution contended that the rank then raised an alarm and Allicock jumped from the fence, pulled out a gun from the waistband of his pants, and fired three rounds in Walcott’s direction.The court also heard that the rank, who was armed at the time, returned fire but Allicock escaped. During the trial, the court heard that shortly after, a party of City Constabulary ranks received information about Allicock’s whereabouts and went to Hadfield Street, Georgetown, where they arrested him hiding under a bridge. He was handed over to Police and charged. Magistrate Singh jailed the fisherman for 12 months.last_img read more

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Target to add 100 stores per year over 5 years

first_imgUlrich said Target might be interested in buying a large block of Canadian stores if they came on the market, but in the meantime it has lots of room for growth in the U.S. and will focus on that for the time being. He said he believes there’s room in the U.S. for at least 3,000 Target stores – although he acknowledged that Chief Financial Officer Doug Scovanner thinks the number is closer to 2,500. He said it’s not clear that there are any big advantages to being first in many overseas markets, although he said eventually Target would add stores outside the U.S. “In some of the major emerging economies such as India and China one could argue that it’s much better to enter five years or 10 years down the road when that guest is becoming more affluent, better educated, because that is more in sync with our strategy,” he said. The increasing food sales at both SuperTarget grocery stores and regular Targets have worried some observers because food is generally less profitable than other goods such as furniture and clothes. But Scovanner said those items drive customers into the stores and gives Target a chance to sell them more highly profitable items. Like other retailers, Target has been adding flat-panel televisions. President Gregg W. Steinhafel said Target will offer screen sizes up to 42 inches and prices as high as around $2,500 this year. MINNEAPOLIS – Target Corp. said on Wednesday it expects to increase its presence by 25 percent over the next five years to about 2,000 stores in the U.S., and will open its first outlets in Alaska and Hawaii. Target Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Ulrich said in a presentation to analysts that the company remains focused on adding U.S. stores. The company has shown relatively little interest in adding stores in Canada or other locations outside the U.S. That’s in contrast to retailers such as Best Buy Co. Inc., which has a fast-growing Canadian operation and is expanding into China, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which has nearly a third of its 6,700 stores outside the U.S. Target currently has 1,502 stores and said it plans to add about 100 stores per year through 2011. He said flat-panel TVs will soon make up almost 90 percent of Target TV offerings. The nation’s second-largest discount retailer repeated its February guidance of around $3.60 in earnings per share for the current year. Also Wednesday, Target said its sales at established stores grew 12 percent in March, helped by the earlier Easter holiday. Results were in line with Target’s expectations for 11 percent to 13 percent growth. Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, are a key measure of a retailer’s performance, because they measure growth at existing stores rather than from newly opened locations. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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GAA: GLENSWILLY CLUB NOTES

first_imgThe lotto numbers for this week were 3,15,17,24 and the match 3 winner was Paddy Crossan, Trentagh. Next weeks jackpot is €2,260. Sellers this week are Martin mc Ginley and Michael Canning.There will be a HB Icecream Funday in the Glenswilly GAA Centre on Sunday the 19th of June @ 11.45am. All proceeds in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland, parents are encouraged to bring along the wanes for what will be an enjoyable day in aid of a good cause.There is salsa and dance exercise classes on every Monday in the hall at 8 15 p.m. Everybody welcome. €5. per night. There is also circuit training on Mondays at 7 00 p.m.  €5 per night or €40 for ten weeks.Have fun this summer in Gleann t- Suilí GAA club with VHI Cúl Camps which will run from Monday 11th July to Friday 15th July 2011. Application form can be got from Paddy Mc Ginty 087-9210846 ,this camp is for children age 6 – 14 years old ,boys & girls, cost for the first child €65, second, third child upward €50. In the camp they will get a full VHI kit and bag.The club wish a speedy recovery to Conor Gallagher who broke his arm recently.GAA: GLENSWILLY CLUB NOTES was last modified: June 8th, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Glenswilly GAA noteslast_img read more

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GAA: NAOMH MHUIRE NOTES

first_imgNaomh MhuireThe u8s have been invited to a blitz in Dungloe on Friday 22nd july @6.30 with Dungloe, Naomh Mhuire and Gaoth Dobhair. Parents are asked to have the players in Dungloe for 6pm.Last weekends under 10s blitz at the banks had to be cancelled to the weather conditions. Training this Saturday as normal. The under 16s played A           odh Ruadh last Monday night in the Southern final and while played in terrible conditions and facing a 9 point deficit at half time the boys battled back magnificently to force a draw. The replay is this Friday evening in Dunkineely and all support greatly appreciated for this young team who are having a great season.The Seniors and Reserves played Carndonagh last weekend. The Reserves struggled to find the form they showed against Burt and ended up with a seven point defeat. The Seniors played some good football in the first half and lead 2-04 to 0-5 at half time but struggled to get into gear in the second half but showed good determination to hold on for another two points. This weekend both teams travel to Carndonagh on Saturday evening with a 5:30 and 7pm throw in.The Ladies Junior championship semi final against Glenties has been provisionally scheduled for August 1st.The club postponed its day trip to Gola Island and it has been rescheduled to Sunday 14th August. Tickets for Tommy Fleming in Concert on Monday 1st August are on sale in the Cope Annagry or from Club members. These tickets make ideal birthday presents etc for what should be a great night. This concert is being jointly promoted by Naomh Mhuire and Dungloe GAA Clubs and all monies will be invested back into Club activities.Lotto details for week 13th July; jackpot 2060 euro. No jackpot winner. There was no match 3. Numbers were 4-19-21-22.The Naomh Mhuire Annual Gate Collection took place last weekend in Annagry and Kincasslagh. Thanks to all our supporters for their contribution and thanks to club members who did the collection with all proceeds going to underage development in the club. Mile buiochas.Check out our club website www.naomhmhuire.ieGAA: NAOMH MHUIRE NOTES was last modified: July 20th, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:GAA: NAOMH MHUIRE NOTESlast_img read more

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GAA NEWS: FIRST AODH RUADH CLUB EXECUTIVE MEETING OF THE YEAR TAKES PLACES THIS THURSDAY

first_imgAodh Ruadh GAA News:Club MeetingThe first club executive meeting of the year takes place this Thursday, 22nd January at 8.30pm in Aras Aoidh Ruaidh. All members of the club executive are asked to attend.FootballUnder 16 training takes place in the Mercy Hall on Wednesday from 7pm to 8pm and on Friday from 8pm to 9pm.Indoor training resumes this Friday 23rd January. The 2015 Under 6s [Born 2009-2011] are in the Mercy Hall at Colaiste Cholmcille from 6pm to 7pm followed by the under 8s [Born 2007-2008] from 7pm to 8pm, also in the Mercy Hall. 2015 under 10s [Born 2005-2006] are training in the new hall at Colaiste Cholmcille from 6pm to 7pm.That session is followed by the 2015 under 12s [Born 2003-2004] from 7pm to 8pm, also in the new hall.There is a charge of €2 per head. Please bring your own water and wear runners as no other footwear allowed. Parents/Guardians are asked to please collect children promptly after their session is finished.Many thanks to those who have been supporting us with the Lucozade Kit Out Project. We are not asking people to start buying Lucozade, but could anyone who does drink it please note the code on the bottle under the wrapper and pass it to Tracey Flood.Codes will be added to our account and we get some free kit. Please pass this on to your friends or anyone you know that drinks Lucozade and ask them to keep codes for the club. The more codes we collect the more gear we can get.Return national draw ticket receiptsMembers selling tickets for the National Club draw are asked to return them to Diarmaid Keon or Emma Gaughan before this coming Wednesday, 21st January.The national draw offers a range of 15 super prizes including trips away with the 2015 All-Stars, a trip to New York, a travel voucher worth €1,500, shopping vouchers worth €1,000 and numerous luxury All-Ireland final packages. In addition each ticket will gain entry to the Donegal prize draw and the Aodh Ruadh prize draw giving you even more chances to win.The Donegal prizes are a €1,000 top prize with two €500 prizes and five €100 prizes on offer.Aodh Ruadh prizes are a top prize of €100 with two €50 prizes and five €20 prizes up for grabs.Donegal prizes are confined to the county with Aodh Ruadh prizes confined to tickets sold by club members. All ticket revenue sold by club members will be retained by Aodh Ruadh.Donegal v FermanaghThanks are due to all those who worked hard over the past few days to prepare Father Tierney Park for Sunday’s Bank of Ireland McKenna cup game between Donegal and Fermanagh at such short notice.Once again our volunteers did Aodh Ruadh proud. We have some shots from the afternoon’s action up in the Image Gallery on aodhruadh.org.Coaching workshops and courses.A schedule for coaching workshops and courses in January and February has been released by Donegal GAA. These are listed below.If you would like to attend any of these please e-mail Emma Gaughan on secretary.aodhruadh.donegal@gaa.ie or text 0863039610.Garda VettingNew forms have been issued for Garda Vetting. These can be obtained in the Administration > Forms section of aodhruadh.org. These forms must be used by all undergoing vetting going forward as old forms in circulation are no longer accepted.Abbey Centre BingoTeresa Ward won the Bingo Jackpot of €400. There was no winner of the winter snowball, which now stands at €475 on 50 numbers or less. Bingo continues this Friday night at the Abbey Centre at 9pm. Books priced at €10/€5 for full/half books. See you there!IT issuesWe are finally back on full power now. However, we have had to revert to an mailing list from May 2014, so if you notice you aren’t getting notes any more, drop a line to info@aodhruadh.org and we’ll get you re-subscribed.Aodh Ruadh LottoThere was no winner of last week’s Aodh Ruadh Lotto jackpot of €4,000. The winning numbers drawn were 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 10. In the lucky dip €20 went to: John Hughes, Cornhill; Catriona Mullaney, Mullnasole; Marie Gavigan, Portnason; Breege Scott, Coolcholly; and the Patton family, Ballyshannon. Next draw in The Bridgend with a Jackpot of €4,100 on Sunday at 8.30pm.The lotto team for McCosker’s Centra this Saturday is: JUVENILE HURLERS.The lotto team for Kernan’s Spar this Saturday is: SENIOR HURLERS.You can receive the club notes by e-mail every Tuesday morning. To subscribe, enter your details on the website, www.aodhruadh.org.GAA NEWS: FIRST AODH RUADH CLUB EXECUTIVE MEETING OF THE YEAR TAKES PLACES THIS THURSDAY was last modified: January 20th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Aodh RuadhGAANoticesSportlast_img read more

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Hazard gives astonishing interview as a hologram

first_imgIs this what the future of sports broadcasting looks like? We certainly hope so.Belgian TV interviewed a hologram of Eden Hazard during the World Cup. 1 It looks so real The Chelsea winger spoke from Belgium’s dressing room after the quarter-final victory over Brazil and a live image of him was projected in the studio.It would’ve been far more upbeat than any interview he gave last night, after his country were sent crashing out of the tournament by France.Hazard is dressed in his full kit, sat on a stool, and remarkably it looks like he’s actually in the studio with the presenters.The hosts at channel La Une are even making eye contact with the Belgium captain.Jake Humphrey, one of the UK’s top football presenters, was mightily impressed: Ok, so in Belgium they interviewed Eden Hazard in the studio…when he is at the stadium…still in his kit! Love this. Welcome to the future… pic.twitter.com/H28K9ZTZUX— Jake Humphrey (@mrjakehumphrey) July 10, 2018last_img read more

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‘Gratitude’ seeks help for GIs’ smiles

first_imgThe e-mail to Carolyn Blashek arrived Tuesday from Sgt. Natosha Monroe, a mental-health specialist stationed overseas dealing with combat stress. The holidays are coming – the worst time of year for so many troops who miss their homes and families, Sgt. Monroe wrote to the founder of Operation Gratitude in Encino. That’s why Sgt. Monroe and her staff sergeant were brainstorming recently about some morale-boosting things to do this season. “He has tried to improve morale, but is becoming frustrated with some failed efforts,” she wrote. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “A month ago we received some USO packages to distribute, but there weren’t enough to hand out to … the basically brand-new soldiers who have just gotten out of training and are away from home for the first time in their lives. “I have seen the smiles on the faces of so many troops who have received your packages. They’re known around here as ‘the good ones’ because they seem to have items in them that soldiers truly need and appreciate – especially the DVDs, which really help pass the long hours. “I would sincerely appreciate it if Operation Gratitude could offer that same smile to our soldiers. It might be the only bright spot for them this holiday season. Thank you so much.” After reading the e-mail, Blashek did what she often does when she hears from the men and women overseas she has made smile with her special care packages. She cried a little, then got back to work. More than any year since she started Operation Gratitude from the living room of her Encino home, this Veterans Day may be one of her greatest challenges. From a few dozen care packages mailed out that first year to specific soldiers who were not receiving packages from home, Operation Gratitude has grown from one woman to hundreds of volunteers. The grass-roots effort is on target this year to top a three-year total of 100,000 care packages sent to troops overseas. That’s a lot of smiles. But Blashek wasn’t smiling Tuesday. Like a lot of charitable organizations that rely on the good hearts and generosity of the public, Operation Gratitude has seen its supplies and donations dwindle this year. “We got slammed by the hurricane,” she says. “Many donations that had been promised us were sent instead to the people in New Orleans devastated by Katrina.” There is no malice in her voice, only concern. She knows the victims of Katrina needed those supplies, but so do our combat troops who could use a morale boost and a few smiles from home this holiday season as the Iraq war lingers on. As it stands now, though, it’s going to be tough for Operation Gratitude to meet its goal of sending 30,000 more care packages to the troops – like those in Sgt. Monroe’s unit – this holiday season. So she sends out her own e-mail to supporters Wednesday, and keeps her fingers crossed that people still care. “I am desperate,” the founder of Operation Gratitude begins in her note. “We have almost no DVDs for the upcoming holiday drive. I cannot disappoint all those troops. “Do you have any suggestions on how we can obtain more DVDs of TV shows and movies for the 30,000 packages we will be sending?” If you do, let her know. The holidays are coming. It’s the worst time of year for so many troops who miss their homes and families. Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Dennis McCarthy, (818) 713-3749 dennis.mccarthy@dailynews.com HOW TO HELP More supplies and volunteers to help pack boxes are needed for Operation Gratitude Holiday Drives set for Veterans Day weekend – Nov. 10-13 – and Thanksgiving weekend – Nov. 25-27 – at the California Army National Guard headquarters, 17330 Victory Blvd., Van Nuys, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, e-mail Carolyn Blashek at cblashek@aol.com, visit www.operationgratitude.com, or call Blashek’s information-only phone line at (818) 789-0563.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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