Moses Sanchez

Moses Sanchez chats with his wife, Dr. Maria Manriquez-Sanchez, and his two children, Liam, 14 and Shannon, 16, over Skype early Friday morning.

Submitted photo

Two Ahwatukee Foothills organizations are teaming up to bring school supplies to the children of Afghanistan. One man, who is currently in the Middle East, was instrumental in setting up this local fundraiser.

Moses Sanchez, who is stationed in Bagram, Afghanistan, started off the effort when he sent $1,000 to the Ahwatukee Kiwanis Club for the group to buy schools supplies.

It is part of a donation drive known as Operation Pencil, which soldiers from around the country participate in.

Members of the Kiwanis Club took that money and were able to purchase 26 boxes of school supplies, which were shipped to Afghanistan last month.

"(Kiwanis member) Mike Schmitt took the money and cleaned out two Wal-Marts and a Sam's Club to collect the supplies," Kiwanis member Robert Anderson said. "Moses is in the middle of nowhere and there are two or three schools and these supplies are going to go a long way for them."

Currently, the Ahwatukee Republican Women organization is collecting school supplies to send halfway around the world to Sanchez, which will then be donated to the local Afghani children.

"(Moses) is always thinking of someone else and we are always trying to send things over there and help them out," said Loranie Pellegrino, president of the Ahwatukee Republican Women. "These drives are a way to remind people about our local troops that are serving abroad."

Pellegrino said those interested can donate pencils, pens, markers, crayons, paper, folders and whatever other school supplies they can find. She said they will be collecting up until Monday, Aug. 1 and will ship everything off shortly thereafter.

Supplies can be dropped off at her Ahwatukee Foothills home, 1233 E. Squawbush Place. To set up a drop-off time or to find out more information, email her at

You can follow Sanchez's progress on his blog,

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