Turkish Cultural Center in Brooklyn Collects and Ships Supplies Following Earthquake Devastation

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Faith, Inspiration, Queens, NY, World News

By Jessica Easthope

Since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Turkey and Syria in the early morning hours of February 6, the Turkish Cultural Center has been collecting.

Thousands of items from diapers and baby food to blankets and clothes, a full flight’s worth of cargo airlifting the supplies from Newark International Airport to Turkey every day through the Embrace Relief Campaign, now they’re sending a ninth and final shipment.

“Those are our people, those are our friends and family members, when we started to see the pictures and videos from the drones we realized maybe this was the largest one,” said Jackson Guven, the coordinator of the Brooklyn Turkish community’s donation and fundraising efforts.

They asked people to bring supplies to the Brooklyn Amity School in Sheepshead Bay until Turkey said they had enough. Jackson said people of all ethnicities and faiths have supported their mission.

“It gives me hope that being united is the strongest thing in our community, we’ve tried to build bridges between communities and I saw a lot during this disaster that they opened their hearts I believe,” he said.

The lobby of the school has been a central location but principal, Adam Olimi says money and supplies have come from all over thanks to the power of social media.

“There are a lot of people on social media today and I think it’s one of the greatest things we can do, it’s fast, easy access, less resources used and of course that was the first thing we’ve done was share the link on our social media account,” he said.

Now Jackson says the Turkish community is looking toward achieving a long-term goal; getting the country’s authorities to ensure the surviving buildings and new construction can withstand another quake.

“We are looking to the future now and we are trying to encourage our people in Turkey and the authorities to bring that proof and agreements to the buildings for the people’s safety,” he said. “I hope the authorities learned a lesson from this disaster.”