Korean, American Red Cross help the poor heat their homes
Oh, Sea-chang, mayor of Dongducheon city, looks on as the volunteers from the American Red Cross and Korean Red Cross pass out charcoal bricks within the city to the elderly and poor March 6.

DONGDUCHEON CITY South Korea - The American Red Cross and Korean Red Cross accompanied by Soldiers, Family members, and members of the local community donated charcoal bricks, used to burn and provide heat, March 6 to persons who could not afford them.

The ARC and the KRC signed an exchange and cooperation agreement Nov. 6, 2009. The agreement was signed by Jana Fullmer, Red Cloud Garrison ARC station manager, and Choi, Soon-hu, KRC Dongducheon director. The agreement allows the two organizations to work together in projects similar to this one.

Choi and the KRC were in need of volunteers and called Fullmer and the ARC to help with their annual coal donations. Fullmer said since signing the agreement with the KRC, they contact the garrison ARC when there are events needing volunteers.

"The Korean Red Cross does a lot for the local community," said Leah Barber, Casey Garrison ARC assistant station manager. "One of the projects they and other local organizations do is delivering charcoal bricks (about the size and shape of coffee cans) to poor and elderly residents of Dongducheon."

"For some people, the only heat sources they have in the wintertime are these charcoal bricks, so it is an important service the Korean Red Cross provides," Barber said. "This is how they have been heating their homes for a long time, and it has become popular again because of the high price of other kinds of fuel."

Suk Harper, a volunteer for the ARC, coordinated the efforts of both organizations.

The group met outside of Jihaeng station in Dongducheon for instructions from Choi and Fullmer. Oh, Sea-chang, Dongducheon city mayor, spoke to the group about the importance of their mission before they continued.

"Both the Korean Red Cross and the American Red Cross have the same idea to come here and help the poor people in Dongducheon," Oh said, "I appreciate the volunteers from Casey because events like these are the best way to make Dongducheon a better and more beautiful city."

Volunteers, followed by trucks that held the charcoal bricks, divided into groups and were transported to different locations. They lined up and passed the bricks one by one to the door steps of homes of elderly and poor citizens.

The group delivered a total of 10,000 charcoal bricks. Volunteers donated 3,000 bricks and the remaining 7,000 bricks were sent to other towns and delivered that day. Harper said the KRC accepts private and business donations for the bricks.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16