Every year in New York City we do a coat drive for the homeless and the needy. Last year we collected 87,000 coats and needed a warehouse to store them. One of my tasks was to get a phone installed in the warehouse for the coat drive. When I called the phone company to say what we needed and why, the operator told me an amazing story. The year before he was homeless and received a coat from the drive. He said he couldn't believe people would sacrifice such nice coats and that the gesture of selflessness gave him faith in the world again. So he began to get his life together and a year later he had a place to live and a good job at the phone company. I thought to myself, "Just when you think it's only a coat." Melissa Bieri, NY, NY
According to the U.N. Gaza will be unlivable by 2020. That's four years from now. By then two million people will live there, one of the most densely populated small spaces in the world. As it is, they've barely recovered from the 2014 war...the third war in five years. 75,000 people are still homeless. What's the problem? A lack of cement and building materials. Israel imposes heavy restrictions on these items because they could be used to build tunnels. And cement at $475 a ton is far too costly for most families. Half the work force is out of a job. The factories and farms have been destroyed, so there are no jobs to be had. What else could go wrong? Let's talk about electricity - four hours a day or less, but when? So when do they cook, wash clothes, clean if they don't know when the water will be pumped to the rooftop storage tanks? Families who have generators can't afford many hours a day because of the high cost of fuel. I can't imagine the anger and frustration. ANERA says Gaza is unlivable now. I agree.