UNICEF Makes History By Helping in U.S.

ByABC News via GMA logo
September 10, 2005, 3:17 PM

Sept. 10, 2005 — -- For the first time in its 60-year history, UNICEF is launching a major relief effort on U.S. soil. UNICEF, the United Nations' children's agency, will help the survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

"We're in a time of unprecedented disaster," said Ann Veneman, UNICEF's executive director.

UNICEF will be working with four organizations already on the ground in the disaster zone: the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Church World Service, Christian Children's Fund and the Lion's Club.

"We're offering help in very specific areas such as logistics and in helping reunite families," Veneman said. "There's a tremendous amount of expertise in the U.N. and we're willing to lend our assistance."

UNICEF also will be distributing "school-in-a-box" kits, which it first developed in the 1990s to help children in Rwanda. These packages consist of basic materials for 80 kids, including pencils, erasers, counting cubes, clocks to help kids learn how to tell time and lesson books on basic math and reading. The kit itself turns into a blackboard for the teachers' use.

There's also another first for UNICEF. When trick-or-treaters raise money for UNICEF this Halloween, half of those proceeds will go to Katrina relief -- marking the first time UNICEF dollars will help a developed country instead of a developing one.