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Over 90% of each donation made to Kirwin International Relief Foundation goes directly to those in need. This web site as well other outreach materials are paid out of our own pocket or are done pro bono.
 
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In January 2009 KIRF supported the Homeless Children's Playtime Project program in Washington, DC with donations of educational supplies, toys, sports equipment and some basic furnishings for the playroom at a transitional living facility that hosts this amazing program.

Read the thank you letter from the Homeless Children's Playtime Project (PDF) >

     FIELD REPORT  
 
DC Homeless Children: Helping the Homelss Children's Playtime Project in Washington, DC for the National Day of Service
February 13 , 2009
by Angela Kirwin

Four volunteers of the Kirwin International Relief Foundation (KIRF) headed to Washington, DC on January 16 to provide assistance for homeless children to heed President-Elect Obama’s request for Americans to do a community service project to honor the spirit of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. He called it a National Day of Service. While in DC they also attended the inauguration.

Mark Kirwin with receit for learning supplies & toys for the Homeless Children's Playtime Project with volunteers pushing carts of purchased suppliesOn the Saturday before the Inauguration, the Kirwins met up with volunteers for the a local Target and Best Buy to purchase wish list items for the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project non-profit that serves homeless children at several Washington, DC transitional living shelters. The Kirwins’ two children helped the volunteers chose the best toys and art supplies—stuff that they know kids like. Carpooling with the volunteers they delivered about six shopping carts of needed educational toys, art supplies and furnishings to a local shelter later that day. The Kirwins and their children returned to the shelter on Wednesday and helped build some play structures and played with the kids. Ironically, the shelter’s Playtime was closed on the National Day of Service for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

“Their lives are hard and several of them have suffered a lot. It was so gratifying to see them excited about their new toys and have fun in a loving and safe environment,“ Angela Kirwin said. “Every kid needs to feel special sometimes.”

Two volunteer staff members & one of their beautiful clients at the Homeless Children's Playtime Project in Washington, DCThe Homeless Children's Playtime Project (www.playtimeproject.net) non-profit serves children in local emergency and transitional homeless shelters by giving them a safe and enriching place to play in the evenings. “This is the one place they can go be with their peers and get a lot of love and attention,” Nicole French, a Site Coordinator at the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project, said. “Now with KIRF’s help we’re able to make the space more hospitable and kid-friendly for Playtime,” Ms. French said.

News Release "Ventura Family Witnessed History and Helped Homeless Children in Washington, DC " (2/3/09) >

 

 

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DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: LESSONS FROM MS
January 11 , 2006
by Angela Kirwin with Petal City Alderman James Moore

We learned a lot in post-hurricane Katrina Mississippi about what to expect after a major disaster hits and how to prepare for one. Our generous host, tour guide and local KIRF volunteer James Moore – alderman for the woodsy subburb of Petal and owner of Moore's Bike Shop in the neighboring city Hattiesburg – gave us an insider's view of what happened to their town during the worst hurricane in memory. The eye of the hurricane passed over Petal with winds in excess of 150 mph that turned the ubiquitous pine trees into destructive missles. Even though the town was approximately 80 miles north of the Gulf Coast the hurricane's powerful winds tore up many of the homes and buisinesses in the area. Nearly every single home had a blue "FEMA" tarp covering its wind damaged roof when we visited six weeks after the hurricane hit.

He described to me how the local city council and citizens of Petal struggled to maintain a civilized society in the first weeks after Katrina hit on August 29th. People were taking care of each other with no water and power service, no cell phone reception, closed stores and banks and gas stations, roads blocked with fallen trees and power lines and a crime wave of looting. I asked him how a town in California or elsewhere should prepare for a large-scale disaster. My question and his interesting answers are below.

Angela Kirwin: I remember that Petal needed to procure it's own source of fuel for emergency vehicles and needed more generators for electricity. Are there any other areas of disaster preparedness that should be addressed? I'm thinking of evacuation plans, shelters for residents and their pets, long-term assistance or relocation for displaced working class folks, crime prevention, emergency water and food aid within 24 hours and debris removal.

James Moore: Most of what I'd impart about our lessons on preparedness are included in your paragraph above.  I'd rate the importance of preparedness as follows:
       1.  Water and sewer must be able to operate without the power companies being in operation.  That means generators for both water pumps and sewer facilities.  You cannot deliver water into homes if you cannot also carry sewage away. 
       2.  Food.  Families should have several days of nonperishable food on hand at all times.  Part of your preparedness plan could be to constantly run PSA's to remind the public of this need. 
       3.  Merchants should all have a plan outlining how they will make their food products available in a fair and orderly manner without the availability of electricity.  The public should consider "cash" as part of their emergency stockpile as checks or plastic will be useless in a disaster.
        4.  Banks need a plan to quickly give customers access to their money in the form of cash.  Panic sets in when folks have money they cannot use to get the things they desperately need.
         5.  Ice.  Most of the usual sources of ice will see their inventory of ice melt before they are able to begin selling it.  Ice is needed for two functions.  First it allows families to make their frozen and refrigerated foods last the 3 to 4 days before governmental food sources are available and secondly many medications must be refrigerated.  Locations should be established where medications may be stored by the public.  Our police department provided this service via several refrigerators at the station powered by the stations generator.  Pharmacies could also offer this service provided they have generator capacity.
       6.  Law and order.  The most stressful aspect of Katrina was the realization that we were on the brink of a break down of civilazation.  The peace was very fragile.  The police need a plan of curfews that are rigidly enforced and the public needs to know ahead of time what to expect from law enforcement.  There must be a contingency to lock up large numbers of citizens even to the extent of waiving some of the due process normally afforded in usual times.  Looting in Hattiesburg was only brought under control when the media reported the existence of a "fence city" erected by the police where ANYONE on the streets after 6PM spent the night.  There will be plenty of time to argue civil philosophy following the disaster–maintain order during the disaster with any controls that are effective.
       7.  Communication.  Land lines and cell phones will be useless.  Your city must have a system of communications that is satellite based or cell phones with "walkie talkie" capability.  All governmental agencies within your jurisdiction must share this technology - your fire must be able to talk to your police and your police must be able to talk to the sheriff departments.  All must be able to talk to the public works departments.


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HURRICANE KATRINA RELIEF FUNDRAISER
October 1, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Relief benefit posterOur Hurricane Katrina fundraiser on October 1st was a great party! Please extend our gratitude by supporting these businesses and entertainament who contributed.

Raffle Prizes and Silent Auction Items:
A Good Thai Peruvian Rest.
Bagel Rock Coffee
Cafe Bariloche
Camarillo Bicycle Co.
Celtic Carma
Dargans Irish Pub & Rest.
Five Points Skate/Snowboards
Gaea.cc
Giant Bicycle USA
Great Pacific Iron Works
OnuWorld.com
GourmetDetective.com
Kharmann Ghia Parts & Rest.
LA Fitness
-Ventura
Latté 101 Coffee Co.
Mac Talk 2
-Ventura
Natalie's Eclectibles
Noah’s Bagels
-Ventura
Open Air Bicycles
Parts Unknown -Ventura
Patagonia, Inc.
Pierpont Racquet Club
Pin-Ups Hair Design
Play It Again Sports -Ventura
Quiznos Sub -Main St., Ventura
Robeks Fruit Smoothies -Mantalvo Square, Ventura
Seth’s Games and Anime
Starbuck’s Coffee -Harbor Blvd., Ventura
SugarCubePress.com
SurfClass.com
Taqueria Tepatitlan
VC Life & Style Magazine
Water Girl USA, Inc.


Food, Beverages, Supplies and Support Provided by :

Anacapa Bread Co.
New Belgium Brewing Co.
California Pizza Kitchen
Genjitsu Dojo
Haffner, Haffner & Kirwin
Hot Wood Mesquite
Isabelle Valencia

It’s In the Sauce BBQ
Jeannie Knowles

Mark & Angela Kirwin
Pierpont Racquet Club
Smart'N'Final - Ventura
Susan Rockett
Tipp’s Thai Cuisine
Trader Joe’s -Ventura
Ventura Wine Co.
Will Rogers Elementary School
Vons -Borchard, Ventura

Musical Talents and Bands:
Jani Baldwin
Lilly Water
Sus Corez
Baby Doll
and many wonderful adult and Roots & Shoots youth volunteers.

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