KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hundreds of people around the Kansas City metro donated and helped pack up supplies for people affected by the growing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“I defiantly had to take a break at some point,” said Hannah Smuckler while she helped gather supplies at the KU Hillel.
Her family is safe in Jerusalem but only after getting away from dangerous areas in Israel earlier in the conflict.
“I think it’s very important to do whatever we can here in America to help everyone back in Israel,” Smuckler said. “Especially, I know so many people living there being so severely affected by everything that’s going on.”
Athletes for Israel helped pull it all together and founder Daniel Posner says similar efforts are happening on other campuses. His organization was formed to teach more people about Israel by bringing athletes and teams to the country. Now those trips are up in the air.
“Now’s the time to help out, to make a difference,” Posner said. “And students, especially Jewish students, feel helpless and hopeless, they want to be able to have an impact, they want to be able to help Israelis.”
In Lenexa, Heart to Heart International volunteers did essentially the same work, packaging similar supplies to also send to a growing warzone.
“I just really wanted to participate and really help with something,” said volunteer Christina Silin. “Feel like I’m actually doing something.”
Heart to Heart sends kits like these to the region all year long, even before the conflict started.
“We have a shipment of medicines and hygiene kits that left our warehouse about four days before the war began and it’s still in route,” said CEO Kim Carroll.
That shipping container is supposed to go to the Gaza Strip but if it can’t get there because of restrictions on what supplies are allowed in, Carroll says it’ll be redirected to the West Bank.
Other packages are going to Israel, where people are displaced, and even Lebanon where Carroll says this age-old conflict is creating relatively new challenges for the organizations trying to help.
“We don’t typically get wound care supplies donated to us but there’s a huge need for that given the nature of the conflict right now,” Carroll said.
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