How to Support the People of Syria and Turkey

In the early hours of the 6th of February, Turkey and Syria were struck by a strong 7.8 earthquake. Due to this and hundreds of after shocks, buildings have collapsed and villages have crumbled. Since then, crews on the grounds have been attempting to pull survivors from the rubble in below zero temperatures.

Sadly, over 20,000 people have lost their lives in both Syria and Turkey. Young children have been orphaned and parents have lost their precious children. Over 300,000 people have been deemed homeless, many sleeping in their cars or nearby makeshift shelters hoping to hear word on a missing loved one.

In Eastern Syria where humanitarian aid was already needed before the earthquake, it’s even more dire now than ever due to the on going civil war.

There is a dire need for financial donations, winter clothing, bedding, shelters, food assistance, and volunteers to help with an already strained situation in both countries.

There are many groups on the grounds now helping find survivors and providing urgent care. Our help towards those causes, as listed below, goes a long long way!

The White Helmets dubbed “Syria’s Heros” are the main rescue workers on the ground since the civil war. They’ve been pulling survivors, including their own members, from the rubble since Monday. Our help to them goes a long way! Donations made in USD via credit card vs other methods can be tax deductible.

The Red Crescent of Turkey, an affiliate of the American Red Cross, has been known to provide relief efforts around the world. It’s now our turn to help them at home, which they’ve tweeted here.

Islamic Relief are currently on the grounds helping provide aid and relief support to those in both Syria and Turkey. Their hardworking teams’ amazing efforts do not go unnoticed as reported by BuzzFeed.

There is a Launch Good campaign by Professor Khaled Beydoun to support Droplets of Mercy‘s efforts in Syria and Turkey. They are delivering emergency kits to those in need, including food packs, blankets, coats, and hygiene kits.

International Medical Corps has to date delivered 15 metric tons of medications and medical supplies to Syria’s ministry of health warehouses in Aleppo, Hama, and Lattakia. Their emergency response teams in Turkey are partnering with local teams to assess the needed supplies and support. Donate to support their efforts to provide life saving care to the region.

As always, our friends at World Central Kitchen has already made it to Turkey, providing meals to survivors and first responders. Also standing ready to support the affected areas is World Food Program of the UN. They are reaching tens of thousands of people and with our help, can reach many more with urgently needed food assistance.

For those of you in Qatar, you can donate directly to Qatar Charity and Qatar Red Crescent‘s relief efforts in Syria and Turkey. Per ILoveQatar.net, it’s been reported that Qatar Airways has flown necessary materials as well as the Qatari National Search and Rescue Team, aka Lakhweya, to the region.

For those of us in the Bay Area, the Turkish Student Association of UC Berkeley has been working with Turkish Airlines to deliver much needed materials such as blankets and winter clothing to those in need. Follow them on Instagram for donation updates or Venmo funds towards these materials.

Adding to the page that the American Humane just authorized an emergency grant yesterday to International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to save and support the animals in need. As an animal lover and cat mom, this made my heart smile. Kudos!

Adding to the page that Humanity First is also on the grounds proving medical and food assistance. You can follow Qasim Rashid on Twitter who will be on the grounds in Turkey volunteering with the organization.

I will be updating this page with more verified resources as they become available. So if you know of any other organizations providing relief support and assistance that can use our donations, please share them in the comments or tag me (@mshalaco) on any social media platforms.

May God have mercy on the beautiful people of Syria and Turkey, amen.

How to Support the Beirut Relief Efforts

As you many all be aware, on August 4th, at 6pm local time, a massive explosion took place at the Seaport of Beirut in Lebanon. It appears the cause of the explosion was due to the accidental ignition of over 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely for many years at the ports.

This very preventable explosion has taken over 125 lives, injured over 3,000 people and destroyed the homes of more than half the city’s residents. There is a dire need for blood donations, volunteers, and funds to help with an already strained healthcare system due to COVID-19.

If you are in Lebanon, you can safely go to any local hospital or clinic to donate blood and see if there is a need for volunteers. There are many groups gathering to help with the cleaning and rebuilding efforts as well. Every little bit counts.

For the rest of us outside of Lebanon that can donate, the best resources I’ve found so far are the Lebanese Red Cross and the Impact Lebanon crowdsourcing initiative through Just Giving. You can search for your local NGOs that may be offering assistance but I’ve listed a few I’ve come across below.

Kindly note that when making a donation to Lebanese NGOs, do not make it in the country’s currency (Lebanese Lyra/Pound), as it sadly has been collapsing over the past year. Your best bet will be to do so in either US dollars or the Euro.

Baytna Baytak has been helping house healthcare workers and first responders across Lebanon during the pandemic response. Now they are working to help the more than 300,000 displaced residents of Beirut find temporary shelter.

International Medical Corps is helping survivors get life-saving care, deploying medical units and mental health care efforts in support of the damaged facilities and overwhelmed healthcare.

Islamic Relief has an office in Beirut and thankfully their staff is safe. Now they are working to bring much-needed aid and relief support to Beirut.

World Food Program of the UN is helping bring food to the area after the major food sources, like the grain silos, were destroyed at the Beirut port.

If you know of any other organizations providing relief support and assistance that can use our donations, please share them in the comments or tag me on any social media platform, my handle for most is @mshalaco.

May God have mercy on the beautiful people of Lebanon, ameen.

Be Like Shabana. Be a Beggar for Life

Be Like Shabana. Be a #BeggarForLife.

Yesterday’s funeral services for our sister and friend Shabana Patel was bittersweet. We gathered amongst hundreds from many communities to support her children and honor her life. We hugged, wept, smiled and laughed remembering her warm hugs, tears, smiles and laughter.

Shabana always deemed herself a #BeggarForLife as she constantly raised funds and volunteered for many charitable organizations. Her reach went beyond Sacramento and the Bay Area when many of us learned she helped found the Ihsan Foundation for West Africa. This project supports a school in Sierra Leone and became her passionate mission. We urge you all to help continue her legacy in supporting this amazing foundation for years to come, Insha’Allah.

May she rest in God’s eternal peace and light, may her legacy live beyond our years, ameen. 🤲🏻