This year the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club’s annual Winter Clothing Appeal was a huge success with a record amount of clothes collected and distributed to villages around Chiang Mai province. This was in large part due to our many friends who allowed boxes to be placed at their premises; The Dukes at Promenada and Maya, River Market, Promenada Resort Mall, Bronco Kids Pool, Chiang Mai Gate Hotel, Chiang Mai City government, Lanna International School and Prem International School.   PP Joe Evans outdid himself with the amount of clothing he and the club gathered for distribution to needy people in the chilly hills of northern Thailand. Mounds of donated clothing filled the carport in front of Joe's townhouse before we delivered it to Shan hill tribe villages near the Burmese border, to migrant-worker shanty-towns in the hills outside of Chiang Mai, and to patients and caretakers at the Ban K. Kee Patient House here in the city.
 
Clothes were delivered to a Karen village near Doi Inthanon, a small village west of Chiang Dao, Burma Children’s Medical Fund B.K. Kee House, and two small villages in Piang Luang Sub-district in Wiang Haeng. Many thanks to Past President Joe for his tireless efforts in finding great locations, collecting clothes, and finding and delivering them to needy villagers. And a special thanks to Sallo Pollak of Philanthropy Connections for helping us contact villages and to Mike Lake for delivering!
 
CMIRC PP Joe Evans and Ursula von Oertzen delivered clothing, toys, and blankets to migrant workers living in tin shacks in the hills around Chiang Mai.
 
 
 
Idyllic scene from a Shan refugee camp in Piang Luang, a couple of kilometers from the Burmese Border. The 400 folks living here can leave the camp to work in the day time, but must return each night. Temps hit 11 degrees in the early, misty morning while we were there.
 
 
 
"What the heck is this thing?" The children of migrant workers search through clothes donated by the caring people of Chiang Mai.
 


Women at the Ban K. Kee House found much to be happy about in the bags of clothing CMIRC members brought them. What's Tom Johnson doing back there in the women's lingerie department?
 

Mike Lake delivered clothing and  "One World Play" indestructible soccer balls to two villages and a refugee camp just outside of Piang Luang, about five hours north of Chiang Mai. That's headman Sai Leng behind the boy in the blue hoodie. Thanks to Sallo Polak of Philanthropy Connections for arranging this wonderful trip for us.
 
Many people overseas don’t really understand why people need warm clothing when the temperatures only reach 5 – 10C (41-50F) but these people all live in huts constructed out of bamboo and wood. They have no insulation, no heat source beyond a small charcoal stove in the house or fires built outside the house. Let me tell you, 5C feels incredibly cold when you are used to hot temperatures and have no socks, or even shoes much less warm sweaters and other warm clothing.
 
The villagers were thrilled to receive warm clothes and the focus on children’s clothes and the many members and friends who carried warm clothing for children from their home countries really made a difference! Next year we plan on starting the collection in October and will be looking for suggestions for drop off points as well as villages to donate to. If you can host a box or have a location please do email president@cmirotary.org.
 
Chiang Mai International Rotary Club is dedicated to helping the children of Chiang Mai and we are grateful to know that we can make a difference in these people’s lives. You too can make a difference! Check out Chiang Mai International Rotary Club to find out how.