The devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria have both local and international organizations racing to offer help.
“Our people who were under the rubble of the earthquake in my country need your help to be saved,” the Alaturka Mediterranean Grill & Bakery in Palm Harbor posted on its Instagram page. The restaurant listed items in need, such as winter clothing and tents, and promised to deliver them. It also suggested sending donations to the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority of Turkey at AFAD.gov.
Tampa For Turks: This fundraiser for earthquake victims will be at Splitsville in Tampa on Thursday. For $75 per person, there will be drinks, food and bowling from 6 to 9 p.m. 615 Channelside Drive, Tampa.
Supply drive: Bring items to the Alaturka Mediterranean Grill & Bakery. Needed items include blankets, sleeping bags, handwarmers, tents, winter clothing and over-the-counter medications for flu and painkillers. The restaurant is at 36055 U.S. 19, Palm Harbor.
Other national and international help organizations include:
Syrian American Medical Society is working on the front lines, though at least one of their hospitals has been closed due to damage caused by the earthquakes. They are asking for donations to purchase trauma supplies and continue to provide emergency aid to their patients at sams-usa.net/donate.
UN Refugee Agency is currently in Turkey and Syria providing high-thermal blankets, mattresses, kitchen sets, plastic sheeting, jerry cans, sleeping mats, winter clothing kits and winter jackets. You can donate at donate.unhcr.org.
UNICEF: The children’s emergency relief fund has also mobilized aid to Syria and is helping unaccompanied children find their families. Donate at unicefusa.org.
Doctors Without Borders is providing emergency support, blankets and kits in northwestern Syria in the wake of the earthquake. Donate at donate.doctorswithoutborders.org.
World Food Program USA is actively supporting the United Nations World Food Programme’s aid efforts on the ground. The U.N. has operated in Turkey and Syria for decades and has teams on the ground in both countries closely monitoring the situation. Donate at wfpusa.org/hlighting
Red Crescent has organizations in both Turkey and Syria. Both organizations are members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, an international network of disaster relief agencies. The American Red Cross said 900 Turkish Red Crescent workers and volunteers were distributing food and medical aid. Turkish Red Crescent asks for cash donations on Twitter.
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Charity Navigator, which rates charities, gives the following tips on giving to disaster relief. Use their search function to see the charity rating and confirm that a charity is registered with the IRS. Also it is natural to want to give clothing and blankets to keep people clean and warm. But, in reality, money is the most effective gift, the organization says.