NU Nursing students donate to Iraqi children's hospital

A grassroots effort to send supplies to an Iraqi pediatric hospital received a nationwide response, resulting in the collection of over 500 boxes of provisions. The generosity of the students in Norwich University's Nursing program helped play a role in the success of the campaign.

The humanitarian effort began with Captain Scott Todd, a 28 year-old Wisconsin resident who is a member of the 101st Airborne stationed in Iraq. Todd had spent some time at the 97-bed Al Razzee Hospital in Mosul, and noticed there was a need for supplies such as pacifiers, toothbrushes, formula and diapers.

In October Todd sent an e-mail to 20-30 friends and family members, asking that they consider sending some of these items to the facility. Todd included an address where donations could be sent and thanked everyone in advance for their help. Word of Todd's e-mail spread quickly, and soon many different schools and organizations heeded the call for assistance. Before long, the Iraqi hospital was inundated with supplies.

According to Todd's mother, Kathy, many schools, organizations, and individuals responded to the plea. The Mequon school in Todd's hometown sent 60 boxes of clothing, supplies and toys; and the University school of Milwaukee sent 15 boxes and raised $400 through a bake sale. An appeal was placed on an Internet site for Virginia Tech and - within minutes - the owner of a resale shop e-mailed to say she would be going through her inventory and mailing off infant clothing; a 17-year-old California boy glued fliers on grocery bags and collected donations at a soccer banquet; and Girl Scouts in Los Altos, California, went door-to-door for donations and sent get-well cards and toys. While the request was for supplies and not money, cash donations in excess of $4,500 was also contributed to the hospital.

"People kept forwarding Scott's e-mail, and the supplies kept pouring in," Kathy said.

The students in Norwich University's Nursing program found out about the drive from Scott's aunt, Carol Todd of Northfield. Carol's husband, Russell, is a former president of Norwich, and the couple remain active at the university.

"Carol told us about the effort, so we put up posters at the nursing [program]," said Barbara Jarvis, who provides administrative support for the Nursing program at Norwich. "We were able to fill two large boxes of supplies, which were sent to the hospital. Everyone felt good about being able to help this worthy cause."

Donations have been received from 17 states to date, and while the drive officially ended December 31, supplies continue to come in.

"They are simply coming from individual Americans, people with all sorts of political views," Kathy Todd said. "I just have to be so proud of America. There is so much good we are doing."

by Mark Albury
February 2004

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