Many of you were on the journey we took together to Lesbos Greece (via Facebook), volunteering for ERCI (Emergency Response Center International ERCI ), and working at the refugee camps. I paid for my trip out of pocket and it was the best thing I ever did. First, let me clarify, this is not a go fund ME page, but rather a Go Fund ERCI Sar (search and rescue) operation in Lesbos.
You followed my daily Facebook posts and routinely asked what you could do to help. ERCI has as many as 30 volunteers at any given time, covering 5 different shifts at three different locations. There are medical professionals, translators, and loving hands all volunteering to serve refugees from many countries. There is one car used to transport the various teams, to the various sites. The two camps are side by side, yet because of the car’s small capacity, a volunteer must go back and forth 25 minutes each way, to pick up and drop off others at their shifts. We affectionately call this car Megane (that is the model name). Megane is a stick shift so more fuel efficient that automatic, yet the back and forth wastes precious time and resources.
Because of the new laws forbidding anyone except Hellenic Coast Guard from rescuing refugees from the water, our focus has turned to providing support at the camps. Much needed medical attention, psychological support, basic safety and swimming lessons for the children are critical needs. ERCI recently purchased and installed 10 washing machines for use by the refugees. Many of these women are pregnant and have small children. So, the ability to do a load of laundry is more helpful than we can imagine. Having translators on hand to make them feel understood at a time when they are literally stripped of all their worldly possessions, and feel lucky to have escaped their war-torn homeland with the clothes on their backs, is a gift.
This organization is judicious about the allocation of precious resources. My gift for the loving work that ERCI does, and (for me) to the Syrian refugees in particular, is to raise $20k to buy a used 9 passenger van to be able to transport volunteers and equipment efficiently and expeditiously. With this vehicle, they can build shelving in the back of the van, to keep all the necessary medical emergency equipment stocked permanently and ready for use at a beach landing.
I hope you will consider supporting this cause. We call the small car Megane. If successful, I hope they will name the van Abey Baby (named in honor of my Syrian father Ibrahim, affectionately nicknamed by my mother). He would be so proud and appreciative of the thousands of lives that are touched by ERCI Sar. Refugees fight the long boat rides daily, unable to swim, and potentially being trampled in the overcrowded dinghies. When they reach the shores of Lesbos, ERCI is there to respectfully extend a warm hospitable hand, medical attention, and guidance to the refugee camps. Thank you for caring enough to support this worthy organization.
Please click on my gofundme page rather than the ERCI website. That way I can direct these funds specifically for this program! My heartfelt appreciation for your support and your compassion.
- Tim Traudt
- Lee Carroll
- Tamer :)
- Rod Taylor
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