Help kids in the Baltics
Eestlased Kanadas 02 Aug 2010  EWR
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Dear Baltic Friends:

On behalf of Friends of the Baltics, I would like to invite you and your colleagues to join our organization in an effort to raise funds to benefit a charitable organization in the Baltics, The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile in Latvia, by donating items for a silent auction to be held at our upcoming reunion happening in Portland, Oregon, August 13, 2010.

Friends of the Baltics is a 501(c)3 and was founded by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for two or more years in the areas of education, business development and other projects working with NGO's. The 500+ Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who served in the Baltics remain committed to the people and places where we served through our involvement in organizations such as Friends of the Baltics. We also welcome other people to join our organization, including native Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians as well as anyone with an interest in the region. Still, nearly all of our members are RPCVs who served in the Baltics, and consider the region a sort of second home.

This year Friends of the Baltics selected the Ronald McDonald Charities Care Mobile which also happens to be the vision of one of our fellow Baltic volunteers Jerry Wirth, who served in Estonia along with his wife Denise. Along with their three small children, the Wirths have made Riga their home for over a decade. Jerry serves as president of the Board of Directors for the Care Mobile and can be reached via the Care Mobile fanpage on Facebook for more info should you have any questions. We also invite you to join the fanpage while there.

As you may know, the Care Mobile is a travelling medical vehicle that serves children's medical, optical and dental needs in the countryside throughout Latvia. All of our fundraising dollars will be earmarked for eyeglasses, medical equipment, and medical supplies (ie: non-admin costs).

Many children in rural Latvia do not have access to primary medical care. Without necessary immunizations and routine physical exams, these children are at risk of developing acute conditions, dental problems, chronic diseases and serious lifelong illnesses. Minor health problems are often undiagnosed until they become severe, making them difficult and expensive to treat -- which could haunt a child for the rest of his or her life.

Since 2000, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile program has bridged the gap between hospitals and underserved children around the world by providing high-quality medical, dental and health education services. In December 2007, Ronald McDonald House Charities ("RMHC"), formed a Latvian chapter with the goal of bringing a Care Mobile by March, 2009. There are 32 Care Mobiles in operation worldwide today; Latvia is now the second in all of Europe.

The Care Mobile, in partnership with Latvia's Children's Hospital, will travel the Latvian countryside:
• delivering health care services to Latvia’s children in need,
• reducing dependence on expensive hospital emergency services;
• ensuring continuity of care through referrals to primary care physicians and dentists;
• saving families money they would otherwise spend on travel expenses and examination costs.

Care Mobile services are provided in custom-built 12 metre long, state of the art trucks designed specifically for delivering paediatric health care. The vehicles feature:
• two patient examination rooms,
• a laboratory,
• and reception and medical records areas;
• Latvia's Care Mobile, valued at EUR400,000, will be provided by RMHC free of charge.

Friends of the Baltics is organizing a silent auction to be held at a special party that the Portland Baltic community is hosting in our honour on Friday, August 13, 2010. It is anticipated over 250 guests will attend this event, so there is potential to raise thousands of dollars provided we can collect a wide variety of items. We greatly need your help to gather items such as books, CDs, handicrafts, artwork and jewelery from the Baltics and beyond (this includes other parts of the world). We also welcome gift certificates in the Baltics and Portland area.

Should you or any colleagues have any items to donate to our silent auction, please have them sent to the following address before Friday August 13, 2010. We are also accepting checks of any amount made out to “Friends of the Baltics.” 100% of all proceeds and funds raised will be donated to the Care Mobile:

Kalev Sepp
Estonian Society of Portland
8330 SW Apple Way L-201
Portland, OR 97225

We hope you agree that this fundraising project is worth your consideration. We greatly appreciate any gifts you and your colleagues can contribute to our efforts. Suur Tänu!

Warmest Regards,
LISA MARTIN, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Estonia, 1996-98
President, Friends of the Baltics
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