Many Utahns were troubled by media reports that detailed the mistreatment and neglect of thousands of Romanian orphans, but the Headlee family decided they could do something about it.
"My family wanted to get together and do a service project," Kathy Drake said. As a full-time volunteer for Project Concern International, which has been providing medical care for the orphans, she asked workers if her family could work on one of their projects.PCI and the Headlees combined resources and their efforts garnered about 40,000 pounds of food, clothing and medical supplies.
The Headlees, who are from various cities across the country, and about 30 local volunteers met Saturday morning at the Humanitarian Service Center to load the supplies in a container bound for Romania.
The supplies should arrive in Romania the second week of April. The adult family members, about 20 of them, will be traveling to Romania April 25 and will spend two weeks working in the orphanages.
"We'll be building playground equipment and doing basic cleaning and repairing," Drake said. We plan on spending a lot of time working one-on-one with the children, she said.
"We're going to do a lot of things with music," she said. They are taking 300 musical instruments, including recorders and tambourines, to give to the children.
"My brother is writing a software program for them, and a computer was donated," Drake said. "That will help keep track of the children and their medical treatment."
Drake said thousands of children are screened for surgeries every year, but they have no computers to track the type of medication and treatment the children receive.
Five to seven teams of doctors will be traveling to Romania with PCI to perform badly needed surgeries for the children this year, she said. The Headlees will also be helping develop a pre-natal program.