Sending over a place to sleep
EAGLE COUNTY – The earthquake in Pakistan that left many residents homeless and exposed to cold weather, has prompted some Vail Valley residents to gather and ship sleeping bags and tents. Displaced residents in the southern Asian country are bracing for winter.”We have a huge network of friends who are all outdoor people,” said organizer Cheryl Jensen. “Our goal initially was to collect 100 sleeping bags.”The community’s reaction leads Jensen to believe her goal will be surpassed, she said, although collection points have yet to garner many bags. One store in Jackson Hole has pledged more than 50 bags.
The deadline for donations is Nov. 23. Four locations are accepting donations – Avon Bag and Pack, Pedal Power in Eagle-Vail, and Wilderness Sports in Frisco and Silverthorne.Many Pakistanis, left homeless by the earthquake, are facing an uncertain winter.”People here take for granted they have a warm house everyday,” Jensen said. “For these people, this is just survival.”
Jensen works through a program called Sharing Warmth Around the Globe that recently shipped more than 3,500 jackets, pants and vests donated by ski resorts, including Vail, to Pakistan. In the past, the program has sent jackets to Afghanistan and Nepal.Jensen will gather the sleeping bags and pack them for shipment over Thanksgiving with the help of volunteers. International Medical Corps in Pakistan will distribute the bags.Lauri Medina of Wildridge said she jumped on Jensen’s coat tails to get more people involved and increase the number of donations. Medina told friends in Denver and family in Boulder about the sleeping-bag drive and asked them to spread the word.
“I’ve spent some time in that part of the world climbing and trekking and just knew there was a huge need for the people living there,” she said.Medina also got involved because Pakistan was receiving little attention amid other recent disasters, she said. Donating a sleeping bag is a good excuse to buy a new one, Jensen added.
“I’m getting rid of a North Face bag I don’t like and getting a new Marmot,” she said.Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Vail, Colorado