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NW Group Fights Pollution, Promotes Peace - One "Kit" at a Time

November 26, 2007

Portland, OR – No matter what you bought on your post-Thanksgiving shopping excursions this weekend, you probably didn't come home from the stores with world peace or a cure for global warming. However, those items could be on your gift list this year –- and without asking for funding from Congress! Mercy Corps, a humanitarian organization with offices in Seattle and Portland, focuses its fundraising efforts on making holiday gift giving a little more meaningful, with "Mercy Kits." Their "Peace Kit" sells for $50, and a "Climate Change Kit" for $60. Mercy Corps' Caitlin Carlson explains the money goes to support the group's humanitarian programs in 35 countries.

"We wanted to give people the opportunity to share a certain cause that may be important to them with a friend or loved one, and it goes a long way to supporting really strong programs throughout the world."

This year, the "Climate Change Kit" was added as part of a new focus for the organization, on environmental protection. Carlson says they work in some places where that hasn't been a priority.

"We want to be able to leave communities in a better state when we leave. Providing them with a sustainable environment goes a long way to helping them with all of their other issues."

Although Mercy Corps is well known for its disaster relief efforts, Carlson says the Northwest-based group also starts micro-businesses and farms, builds schools and teaches conflict resolution around the world. There are more than 20 different types of "Mercy Kits" to support these efforts, available on the Mercy Corps Web site, at They're tax deductible, too.

Chris Thomas/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - WA