Unification News for April 2005

San Diego Family Church Members Will Walk to Raise funds for Injured Middle Eastern Children

David Roberts
4/18/2005 11:18:43 AM

Over 25 San Diego Family Church youth and adult members signed up to raise money for children maimed in Middle East violence by walking in the Service for Peace Walk for Wheelchairs event to be held April 16.

The walkers signed up at a kick-off meeting organized by Service for Peace in San Diego, which is partnering with the Wheelchairs to the Holy Land project, which aims to send 1,000 wheelchairs to Israel and Palestine this summer. Each $75 raised will pay for one wheelchair. Each donor will receive a certificate with a photograph of the recipient child sitting in the chair the money bought. Donations can be made online at www.walkforchairs.org. A map of the walk and other details are also available there.

Wheelchairs to the Holy Land, sponsored in part by Rotary Clubs in San Diego and in Israel, was founded by two Rotarians, Miko Peled of Coronado, an Israeli Jew born in Jerusalem, and Nader Elbanna of Escondido, a Palestinian Muslim born in Nazareth. Both men spoke at the April 2nd meeting about their experiences growing up amid the violence in the Middle East. They became friends after meeting in the US, their adopted home, and dedicated themselves to the cause of peace in the Middle East.

"For $75," said Mr. Peled, "we take a child that has to crawl, and can't play, and can't go to school, and has to be taken care of 24 hours a day and suddenly give him the ability to go to school, to play, and to be independent. Our goal is to raise a thousand wheelchairs and divide them equally, 500 to each side, and in that to send a message that Israelis and Palestinians can work together."

Both Mr. Peled and Mr. Nader will participate in the walk with their families. Mr. Peled's father was an Israeli general who later devoted his life for peace. His niece was killed by a terrorist bomb in 1997. Mr. Elbanna was a captain in the Jordanian army whose closest friend died in his arms during the al-Karama battle against Israel in 1967.

"We chose to be friends," said Mr. Elbanna. "But not just by talking, not just to sit in an air-conditioned room with a cup of coffee and talk about peace. We want to take action. These wheelchairs are not just plastic and stainless steel. They are a thousand ambassadors, messengers, and we need to send them from the US to the Holy Land with a flame of hope."

Members of many other groups are pitching in to make the walk a success, including members of the San Diego Family Church, the Masjidul Taqwa Mosque, the Plymouth Congregational Church, the Rotary District 5340 Pathways for Peace Committee, the San Diego Church of Scientology, the San Diego Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, and many others.

You can see our website at http://walkforchairs.org, where we have much more information, some great videos, and where people can donate online if they want.

David Roberts
Education Pastor
San Diego Family Church

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