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Announcement :: Peace & War

Bookshop to the Rescue

Bookshop to the Rescue

Bookshop Santa Cruz donates 20 percent of today’s proceeds for humanitarian relief in Iraq

by Scott Hutchins

Neal Coonerty does not support the war in Iraq, nor does he intend to sit around idly while his country continues to fight. The Bookshop Santa Cruz owner has decided to take a positive and proactive approach to war by donating a portion of all the money he makes today (Thursday, May 1) to help relieve the famine and destruction that has taken place throughout the country because of the conflict.

“We took a look at the effect of the war in Iraq on the Iraqi people, and we felt like we wanted to do something,? Coonerty says. “We felt that something had to be done. So, a bookseller friend of mine in Montana came up with the idea that on May 1 we would give a percentage of sales to a humanitarian group over in Iraq helping with the disruption and the unrest that is going on over there.

“We picked out Oxfam, which is a group that does quite a bit of charitable work internationally,? he says. “We’re going to donate 20 percent of our book sales that day to Oxfam and hopefully help the standard generosity and caring of the American people [reach] those who have been in a war. Hopefully we will be able to demonstrate that.?

Oxfam International is a confederation of 12 organizations that operate in over 100 countries worldwide to alleviate poverty, injustice and famine.

“I had known of Oxfam’s work as a group for quite some time,? Coonerty says. “They go all over the world and provide humanitarian efforts to people who are in need. They have been in places where people are starving to death and at different refugee camps. I know that there is an Oxfam operation already set up in Iraq so the money that is donated can be used immediately. It is a good organization that has been around for decades. I am not exactly sure what the money will be used for specifically, but Oxfam has a proven track record so I am sure the donations will be used in the best, most effective way possible.?

Coonerty anticipates that Bookshop could raise anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 dollars that will go directly to Oxfam. He is realistic in acknowledging that his bookstore alone cannot make much of an impact insofar as bringing humanitarian aid to Iraq. This dilemma has prompted him to turn to the business owners of the Santa Cruz community for support. “I am trying to encourage other businesses in downtown Santa Cruz to join in on the effort and make a difference,? Coonerty says.

At GT press time, Coonerty and his fellow business owner in Montana are the only two participants in the May 1 fundraising event. He stresses that the money raised will have an important and positive effect on the famine-stricken and impoverished people of Iraq.

What makes this fundraising campaign special is that it isn’t propagandistic in its purpose. A person or business owner is not required to have a specific view to support this cause. All that is required is a genuine compassion for a country and a people that are in need of some help.

“What people need to understand is that this fundraiser isn’t about which stance you take on the war,? Coonerty said. “It’s about helping others.?

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