Minnesota, August 2, 2014: On Monday July 28, 2014, Uniting Distant Stars received our IRS Determination Letter stating our 501(c)3 Tax-Deductible Status was granted as of July 12. Since receiving this news we have been busy updating our website, flyers and social media sites to reflect this change. We are in the process of setting up our PayPal account to receive online donations, which we hope to have activated soon. In the meantime, Uniting Distant Stars can accept cash, checks and in-kind donations that are all tax-deductible.

We are also working with our fiscal sponsor Ebenezer Community Church in transitioning everything over to our organization. We are extremely grateful for their support during the past 12 months as we have established ourselves as an organization. Many thanks goes to Rev. Francis Tabla (Sr. Pastor), the Board of Trustees, and Bro. Frederick Nah (Treasurer) for making this all possible!!!

Ebola Update: This past week the governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone declared a state of emergency in effort to secure their borders and take other measures to work on finally containing the Ebola outbreak. This crisis has plagued these nations and Guinea (where the first cases were reported) for nearly six months. In Liberia, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf ordered that all schools be closed starting Thursday (July 31) until further notice, and Friday (August 1) would be a non-working day where everything was shut down to sanitize the public spaces like the markets.

Uniting Distant Stars has been proactive for the past two months in providing information to our team in Liberia on knowing what Ebola is and how to protect themselves. Kelvin Fomba, Country Director, has been educating our volunteers and beneficiaries on what they should and should not do. (Read Professor Peter Piot, Rappler article “Ebola discoverer: I would sit next to victim on train.”)

The recent Ebola related deaths of well-known Liberians–Dr. Samuel Brisbane and Patrick Sawyer–has significantly impacted the diaspora living in Minnesota and other states. In response to this, they have unified their community and invited friends to start a Facebook group called “Concerned Liberians Against Ebola“. Uniting Distant Stars has joined this fight as well. If you like to participate in this campaign, please print our poster as shown below, and email a picture of you holding it to [email protected]. We will add this to our Facebook page to show our support in stopping this deadly, but preventable disease.

Also this past week, it was announced that two U.S. citizens–Dr. Kent Brantley and NancyWritebol–working on the Ebola front lines in Liberia had tested positive with it. Dr. Brantley was safely transported back to the U.S. on August 2, for further treatment, and Nancy should be coming soon. For those whose hearts are led to this cause in making monetary or in-kind donations for medical supplies and other support. We recommend two organizations Global Health Ministries and Samaritan Purse to support this important quest of treating those stricken by Ebola and stopping the transmission.

Relaunch Supply Drive: With Uniting Distant Stars now being a 501(c)3 Tax-Deductible Public Charity, we had to redo our 4th Annual School Supply Drive webpage and flyer. Please go to our School Supply Drive campaign page to get the updated flyer with the supply list and learn more on how else you can help us reach our 2014 goal of filling and shipping four 14-cubic-foot boxes.

The children in Liberia had their worlds turned upside with the ongoing Ebola crisis. This annual campaign will help restore the hopes of our young students at Russ Wood Christian Academy, who look forward to receiving these supplies during the Annual Student Celebration. So, please help us bring Bright Smiles to our Liberia youth by giving supplies or monetary donations today. Thank you for your continued support!!!

Uniting Distant Stars, Inc. is a 501(c)3 tax deductible and Minnesota registered non-profit corporation serving youth in Liberia, West Africa. We have been providing educational support since 2011 with scholarships and distributing school supplies. We also offer innovative programming to cultivate future leaders. For more information, please contact us at [email protected].