Wheels Up: Plane Departs for Iraq Carrying Five Tons of Emergency Humanitarian Aid and 1,000 Soccer Balls for Iraqi Children and Families Fleeing ISIS

Salam4December 19, 2014 – Washington, DC – A flight carrying more than five tons of emergency winter aid and 1,000 soccer balls left the United States today for delivery to extremely vulnerable children and families displaced by ISIS in Iraq.

The Soccer Salam initiative, launched December 9, is making its first delivery of emergency humanitarian aid to Iraq, including 1,000 sleeping bags purchased in bulk with donations and 1,000 blankets generously donated by Northwest Woolen Mills. The 1,000 soccer balls are special gifts to Iraqi children who deserve a chance to play, even in the harshest of circumstances.

“We are so grateful to Boeing and the Another Joy Foundation for facilitating this urgently needed humanitarian shipment,” said Erik Gustafson of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC). EPIC is a member of the Soccer Salam coalition, along with the Iraqi Children Foundation, Karadah Project International, and Goals and Dreams. All four nonprofits are led by American veterans working alongside Iraqi expatriates, young people, and other concerned citizens who have a heart for the children and families of Iraq.

An estimated 2 million Iraqis have been displaced since January as a result of the ISIS military offensive. Among them are hundreds of thousands of children. International humanitarian agencies working in the region have issued urgent appeals for emergency winter aid.

The cargo for today’s flight was made possible by donations from ordinary Americans as well as major gifts from the MBC Heritage of Islam Trust, the Khudairi Group, Lake Oswego Rotary, and DynCorp International. Special thanks is also extended to American Rec, Franklin Sports, and YRC Freight for their assistance with supplies and logistics.

For further information, visit http://soccersalam.org/ and contact:

EPIC: Erik Gustafson, 202-604-7413

Iraqi Children Foundation: Jonathan Webb, 253-988-4345

Karadah Project: Rick Burns, 712-249-7435

Goals and Dreams: Sean Atkins, 714-800-9194

To view the PDF of this press release, click here.

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