It's the picture above of a drowned 3 year old Syrian boy named Aylan Kurdi that shook the world on September 2nd, 2015. His family was trying to get to the Greek Island of Kos from Turkey and instead the pictures of Aylan's lifeless body was captured washed ashore on a Turkish beach: It was translated in Turkish as "Humanity Washed Ashore". And it demonstrates the tragedy and plight of millions of people who are trying to escape Syria from war.
The numbers associated with the migration crisis today is huge. And the U.N. has now deemed this a "Refugee Crisis". 1 in every 5 displaced persons in the world is now Syrian.
-6.5 million Syrians displaced
-4.1 million Syrians are fleeing refugees
-1 out of 2 Syrians have either fled or have been killed
And Aylan Kurdi's family was just one example of the millions of children, women, men and families who are suffering to seek refuge right now in this ever-increasing humanitarian crisis.
So this is where my winter drive comes in and YOU can help!
I will be coordinating a winter drive with the Starfish Foundation, a registered NGO that is centrally focused on helping Syrian Refugees who are fleeing from the war. They are located in Lesvos, Greece- a main transit point for tens of thousands of refugees who arrive to Greece on boats. And they are in dire need of supplies as hundreds of more refugees arrive to Lesvos every week.
Lesvos is a Greek island that is only 10 km from Turkey where there is at least a million of people displaced from the Syrian war right now and has become one of the main transit points to Europe where families such as Aylan Kurdi's are trying to escape to.
Why a Winter Drive?
The weather in Lesvos is currently very cold and wet making conditions for Refugees very difficult to live in.
Why the Starfish Foundation?
The Starfish Foundation has been responsible for taking care of all the refugees that have been intercepted by the Lesvos coastguard. They also have a transit area, OXY, for refugees who arrive on beaches and they supply them shoes, clothes, water and medical attention and treatment for those who need it. They also provide blankets and sleeping bags for the evening and organize transport for refugees who need papers for onwards travel. They have medical facilities and a warehouse where many volunteers, such as some of my friends, organize and collect clothing and supplies for the refugees in their transit camps. In the summer and autumn of 2015 up to 60 boats arrived to Lesvos every day and the Starfish Foundation is the first point of contact for many of these refugees who are arriving from traumatic journeys. The Starfish foundation is a small organization that is working under very harsh conditions helping so many in difficult conditions. They are also in need of supplies and need our help.
Items that the Starfish Foundation need are:
1.Socks (new or nearly new and all sizes)
2. Rain jackets and rain ponchos
4. Warm outdoor jackets, especially waterproofs
5. Sleeping bags
7. Men’s trousers (all sizes)Sweat pants / tracksuit bottoms in all sizes, but especially for men
8. Clothes for children aged 10 – 14 (Clothes for younger children are no longer needed as they have enough)
9. Warm winter scarves, gloves and hats
10. Winter sweaters, jackets, coats
I will be collecting these items in NYC and I'm hoping to collect around 140 pounds of clothing. For every 10-15 pounds of clothing shipped internationally it would be around $100 or more.
I will be working with the Cherry Lane Theatre, one of the oldest and reputable New York City theaters as an official drop off point and my goal is to raise a minimum of $1,400 to send everything off to Lesvos, Greece where the Starfish Foundation is located.
DATES FOR THE DRIVE:
December 17-December 30th!
OFFICIAL TIME DROP-OFFS
Thurs 12/17 & Fri 12/18
9 - 10:30 am, 2:30 - 9:30 pm
Sat 12/19 & Sun 12/20
10 am - 9:30 pm
2:30 - 7:30 pm
12 - 7 pm
1 - 7:30 pm
12 - 5 pm
Mon 12/28 & Tues 12/29
2:30 - 7:30 pm
12 - 7:30 pm
Cherry Lane Theatre
38 Commerce Street
New York, NY 10014
If every person donates just $10 we can do it. Even if you don't live in NYC you can help.
Any extra money raised will be 100% sent directly to the Starfish foundation, via PayPal. Link: http://www.asterias-starfish.org/en/help/
The simplest things can make a huge difference, even if it's a coat, sweater or $10 it will really help these families who need it. And I'm passionate to make this happen. We have volunteers, our official drop off point, our charity and now all we need is you!
So join me. Together we can make this happen.
And let's get the word out!
Links to Starfish: http://www.asterias-starfish.org/en/about/
Link to statistics: http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/11/world/syria-refugee-crisis-when-war-displaces-half-a-country/