MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — While Misawa Air Base has sent a few folks forward to help with humanitarian relief efforts in South Asia, many of those left behind are trying to contribute from afar.

Air Force first sergeants at Misawa are spearheading a monetary donation drive for tsunami victims. They’ve raised about $5,000 to date and could raise as much as $10,000 if all pledges materialize, said Senior Master Sgt. Shawn Edwards, 35th Civil Engineer Squadron first sergeant.

Edwards said the Misawa First Sergeant Council is collecting donations from private organizations, individuals and squadrons or units — anyone who would like to contribute.

“It’s a huge effort,” he said. “The concern and efforts from everybody have definitely been overwhelming in just a short period of time.”

Some groups are holding traditional fund-raisers, such as bake sales. Others are getting creative, such as one effort selling $2 breakfast burritos to raise money for tsunami relief efforts.

Individual airmen who would like to contribute should contact their unit first sergeant, Edwards said. The Misawa First Sergeant Council plans to make a one-time donation to the Misawa American Red Cross on or about Friday, he said.

Aid organizations such as the Red Cross say that monetary donations are the best and quickest way to help tsunami victims, millions of whom are homeless and without food and clean drinking water.

People also may make individual contributions directly to the Red Cross at: The Combined Federal Campaign-Overseas also lists government-approved charities helping with tsunami relief on its Web site:

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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