Visiting with Independent Day School

Independent Day School students and teachers with 38 boxes of supplies.

From Liisa, SMSgt Temple’s wife: Rex is having problems with electricity, which is going on and off at his camp tonight. So I am using the space instead to give credit to some of our amazing school supplies drive volunteers …


What do you get when you mix a mountain of school supplies, a determined teacher and 18 students? A beehive of fervent activity resulting in 38 shipping boxes ready for mailing to Afghanistan.

Ever since Rex started his school supplies drive in July of last year, we have both been incredibly touched by the generosity of total strangers. Thanks to the Internet, the word has spread and we’ve had people send school supplies directly to Afghanistan from at least 12 states. And the Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation continues to get checks that are earmarked for the Afghan School Supplies Fund. (If you would like to sponsor the shipping of a box full of supplies, the cost is $12.50. It’s tax deductible through the Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation; make sure to mark your donation for Afghan School Supplies more here).

Cat Quin, lead teacher for the Afghan school supplies drive at Independent Day School

One of the most industrious helpers with the school supplies project to date has been Kat Quin, a teacher at Independent Day School here in Tampa. She first contacted us in early September last year and since then has run a full school supplies drive with her students and their parents resulting in

Donated items waiting to be packed at SS American Victory's storage area.

hundreds of donated items. She also brought her students to a packing party at our main storage and collection facility at the SS American Victory museum ship in October; at that event her students helped pack 30 boxes full of donated supplies.  And just a few weeks ago she volunteered her students again for another massive task – the sorting and packing of all the remaining lose items at the ship.

IDS students get started with the packing job.

Since the storage area where donated supplies are kept before shipping is not heated, Kat generously offered to host the packing party at the Independent Day School in Carrollwood.  With her family in tow she picked up all the supplies, packing boxes, tape and

More donations to be sorted.

address labels on a weekend in preparation for the school day packing event.

On the day of the event she organized the kids in teams and they worked like a well-oiled machine. They taped the boxes and carefully packed four different kinds of items

Rex on Skype video feed talking to IDS students and teachers.

per box so that it would be easier to fill out all the customs forms. Those with the neatest handwriting were in charge of the customs forms.

I arrived at the school around 9 with my laptop so that the students could speak to Rex live via a Skype video

Students wait their turn to ask Rex a question during the video feed.

feed. Around 9:30 am we were all set and the students crowed around the laptop for the conversation half way around the world. Rex started off with a heartfelt thank you to the students, their parents and their teachers for all the hard work and all the donations. And then for the next 30 minutes the

Finished boxes are starting to pile up.

students peppered him with questions about Afghanistan and Rex’s work there.  Time flew by quickly and then all too soon Rex’s time was up and he had to go.

After the video conference we all went back to work. I sat on the floor with couple of students and helped check the boxes before they were taped up and the customs forms finalized. By 11:30 am all the supplies were packed. We had filled 38 boxes and even finished all the customs forms. The students even made a special poster for Rex and his team. After posing for one last group photo, the students carried all the boxes to my car; now all I need to do is to drive them to the post office!

Students' special banner for Rex and his team.


4 Responses

  1. Glad to see that IDS has done so much!

  2. Awesome work going on there! My wife is over there as well. Rex, outstanding thing you are doing there & thanks for all you do! Too bad national news can’t get it that this is the payoff for the afghan people, free from the hardcore ideals of the Taliban. Be safe & fair winds my friend.

  3. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 03/04/2010 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  4. […] class have been helping with the school supplies drive since September of 2009. Rex even skyped with Ms. Quin’s class from Afghanistan in March 2010 before he got home from his […]

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