University of Maryland student Larry Paul, whose Silver Spring home is more than 8,000 miles from Cambodia, is leading a drive to raise money to help feed the people of the war-torn country.
Paul is chairman of the University of Maryland's Cambodian University Relief Effort, appropriately called CURE. Started this semester, the program raises funds through direct donations and the sale of goods. Their goal: $58,750.
"It's a symbolic figure," Paul explains. "It's the value of the first planeload OXFAM (Oxford Committee for Famine Relief) flew into Cambodia."
Although Maryland is not the first university to form a volunteer fund-raising organization, Paul says he hopes to involve not only Maryland's 40,000 students, but the the entire city of College Park.
"I want everyone to know that College Park is one town that got its act together . . . so people can say, 'If they can do it, we can do it,'" Paul said.
Paul says he hopes CURE will raise a large portion of the money through an auction to be held during the first week in March. Volunteers are now collecting items for sale, including objects autographed by celebrities, pieces of art and other objects.
The group intends to plaster its poster -- a woodblock print of a haggard Cambodian mother clutching her starving infant -- throughout Maryland's campus and the city of College Park.
The first fundraising effort, a garage sale held recently at Powdermill Village in Beltsville, raised about $500, but Paul says that he hopes to raise twice that amount next time.
"Anybody can do it," he explains. "It just takes people power."