Madagascar Clothing Drive Put Into Motion

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The clothing drive for the children of the African island of Madagascar, organized by Rim country residents Norm Tucker and Howard Shurtleff, is now under way.

Shurtleff and Tucker, along with 16 fellow church members, paid their own way to Madagascar last fall to spend three weeks working on and around a school operated by their church. After observing the plight of the island's children, they vowed to organize a clothing drive upon their return to the Rim country.

Most residents of the former French protectorate live in poverty, with the average laborer earning 90 cents a day. Because they have no clothes to wear, many children cannot even go to school. "The kids are literally dressed in rags," Tucker said.

Their goal is to ship a 40-foot container of children's clothes to the island on February 14, according to Verna Shurtleff who, along with husband Howard, is coordinating the drive for the Grand Canyon Zone of the Nazarene Church. All churches in the Arizona-Southern Nevada District are also participating.

Rim country residents can drop off clothing donations at Payson First Church of the Nazarene, 114 E. Cedar Lane, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Because of the shipping date, all clothing must be received by the end of January.

Shurtleff specified that donated clothing should be stain-free and in reasonably good condition, with buttons and zippers intact. She also asked that only children's clothing sizes 0 to 16 be included.

Shoes and socks are not worn in Madagascar, so they should not be included, nor should items that require dry cleaning.

Appropriate clothing for girls includes dresses, skirts and tops, underwear, and lightweight sweaters and jackets. Since females in Madagascar do not wear jeans or shorts, any such items donated will be given to the Sun Valley Indian School.

Appropriate clothing for boys includes pants, shirts, underwear, ball caps and lightweight sweaters and jackets.

Virtually all clothing for babies is acceptable, with the exception of heavy items. No adult clothing will be included in this particular shipment, according to Shurtleff.

For more information, call the church at 474-5890.

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