#HelpSyrianRefugees Northern Virginia Responds to a Crisis

In the Fall of 2013 a delegation from the Northern Virginia Regional Commission visited a Syrian Refugee camp in Adana, Turkey (pictured above). After returning home the delegation worked with colleagues from local governments across the region in concert with faith communities and the private sector to implement a blanket drive. The drive collected some 29,000 pounds of blankets for the refugees in approximately 3 weeks time.

Since that time the crisis has continued to grow in Syria and the region. More than 2.5 million refugees are in Turkey and more than 1/2 of them are children!

The faces of the children and families we have helped through the amazing generosity of many people.

In November 2015 local leaders announced the third annual blanket/coat drive.

Press Conference held at the Fairfax County Government Center.

In 2014, 39,180 pounds of blankets were collected. In 2015 the response from residents, faith communities and businesses not only in Northern Virginia, but throughout the Eastern Seaboard and beyond has been remarkable.

The response from the community was overwhelmingly positive with hundreds of volunteers helping to box items.

Note found with one of the blanket/coat donations.

In 2015, 144,710 pounds of blankets and coats were collected to help the refugees.

More than 4 times the amount of goods donated just two years earlier!

The Northern Virginia Regional Commission has been pleased to work with such important partners like Embrace Relief and Kimse Yok Mu. Both organizations are NGOs serving the refugee community in Turkey.

We are grateful to work with the American Turkish Friendship Association and for the generous support of the Paxton Companies and Maersk both of which donated their services to pack and ship the goods at no charge.

Boxes of donated items at the warehouse of Kimse Yok Mu in Adana, Turkey being prepared for distribution to refugees in eastern Turkey.

The need continues with thousands of additional refugees expected to flee into Turkey over the next several weeks due to escalating violence in Syria.

Article from Today's Zaman newspaper in Turkey.

A delegation from Northern Virginia returned to Turkey in February 2015 to once again help distribute blankets, coats and other supplies to those in need.

The faces of the smallest victims of the Syrian Civil War

Some of the children we met in Istanbul, Turkey in February 2015.

All of your help has been warmly received and it is also gratifying to see how the refugee community is organizing with the help from their own and others to make sure that the children keep up with their schooling. This school is run and taught by volunteers; the younger grades meet in the morning and the middle/high school grades meet in the afternoon.

Students at a school run by all volunteers including the teachers who are refugees themselves.

Many thanks to all for your kindness and generosity. We will once again be asking for your help in the Fall to help these families stay safe and warm in the months ahead.

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