Before I went to bed last night I was doing some reading about the Syrian refugees, both in the news and from a couple of blogs addressing the crisis. I know you all have watched the news stories and seen some of the horrible photos of millions of people and children attempting to flee their country. These parents are doing all they can to get their children to a new home. They are searching for a home of peace and a new way of life. The horrific photo of that sweet little boy washed up on the beach especially stands out in our minds. . . .
Last night, as I usually do, I awoke and could not fall back asleep. This is a nightly thing for me, and maybe for you too. Usually I lay quietly in the dark and let my mind roam. To reign it in I pray, and my normal prayers are of thanksgiving. I think about how thankful I am that my two boys are in their rooms right down the hall. And I hope the First Son is in his own bed, safe. We are all in warm beds. We have either air or heat and are comfortable all night long. We are safe and well-fed. And that is merely by grace. I lie there and think how just by grace my family could be somewhere else, maybe in a completely different situation where we might not be warm and have things so very easy. I might not have a refrigerator and pantry full of food to feed my children or electricity to prepare the food and indoor plumbing with warm water to bathe. Our situation could easily be like those who struggle to find shelter at night, a meal for their children, a way to get them to school, shoes on their feet. I honestly lie there thinking about all of this and how truly blessed we all are. These are deep thoughts – so no wonder I never get back to sleep!
This leads to a little story, of course. I am not just exaggerating when I say it is by grace that I am where I am while struggling to fall back asleep. I really could have easily been born elsewhere. I could easily be one of the four million now attempting the long, dangerous and arduous journey out of the unsettled country of Syria. My father’s own grandfather made this same journey out of Syria to escape the unrest, danger and strife. He left Syria completely alone with nothing, no money, no knowledge of America, no friend or connection. All of the details are a bit fuzzy in the family history, but I do know that he did escape Syria and made his way to New York, changed his name to Thomas, began to learn to speak English and made his way to South Georgia. He actually became a quite successful landowner and business owner. One of his businesses has been spoken of and written about and was the type of business my mother’s side of the family was not to proud of, but that’s another story . . .
So, I watch the news now and think about this. What if he had not gotten out of Syria when he did? I would have been a completely different person with a completely different background and experience. And I know it would not have been anything like this easy American life I have.
I don’t know what the answer is for this great mass of people looking for a better life. I don’t pretend to know. But I do know that my heart hurts for them. I know they are tired and cold and hungry. They are parents, and grandparents and children and babies. These parents are doing their best to take care of their children in the worst of circumstances. I cannot imagine having a baby or toddler and seeing what they are experiencing. I know there is so much help needed everywhere, not just overseas, but right at my back door. Even so, I feel the tug to make a tiny difference to even one of these Syrian refugees. I have gathered together a box of things to send for these women, men and children. I know what a drop in the bucket this is compared to the unimaginable need. But maybe one child will have clean diapers, socks or a warm blanket. Maybe one man will feel the warmth of clean socks. Maybe one woman will have her eyes shielded from the blaring sun.
The items are listed on a Facebook Page for Refugees in Molyvos.
I’ve copied the page here just to show what these people need.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION- WHAT DO THEY NEED?
A lot have been asking questions about what the refugees actually need.
Here is a list of things you could bring in your suitcase or as extra luggage. Thank you for helping
Mats (yoga mats could be an option)
Mens trousers (Small Medium and Large) and shoes.
Nappies for Babys
Hygiene Towels for Ladys
Electric Plug for several devices.
Baby powder milk.
Hats and caps for sunshade (adults and childrens)
If you happen to feel your own little tug to offer some help and have your own little Drop in the Bucket Box, you can send it to:
Hellenic Postal Office of Mythmna
c/0 The Captain’s Table
Molyvos 81108, Lesvos, Greece
I credit Kelli Stuart for highlighting this list and address as a way to help. It interested me especially as I wanted to show my boys a more tangible way of helping.
While I was looking for ways to help these Refugees I found several organizations accepting online donations. CNN has a lengthy list of sites to visit to help Syrian Refugees. Charity Navigator is a great site that sets out the various organizations, how they rate and how their donations are used. I really appreciated having all the information in one place so that one can choose how their money is used.
I’ve taken the following from that site:
To the right of the page is a list of 14 charities ranging from American Refugee Committee to USA for UNICEF with their rating.
As the Syrian conflict enters its fifth year, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that it now represents the largest displacement crisis in the world, with over half the population forced out of their homes. Of the 12.2 million people requiring humanitarian aid, 4 million live as refugees in nearby countries — including Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan — while another 7.6 million remain inside Syria. Nearly half the people affected by the conflict — 5.6 million — are children. The Syrians displaced by the ongoing civil war depend upon humanitarian aid for food, clothing and shelter.
Be sure to consider what it is that you want your donation to accomplish and to find a charity offering that specific type of aid. To do that, simply click on the charity’s name and view its rating page (where you can learn about its Financial Health, Accountability & Transparency). Once you are satisfied with its rating, then you can jump to the charity’s website (we link to each charity’s site from its ratings page) to learn more specifically about the type of assistance the charity is providing in relation to the Syrian crisis.
Snapshot of the Crisis
12.2 million People in Need of Humanitarian Assistance in Syria
5.6 million Children Affected by the Crisis in Syria
7.6 million Internally Displaced Persons in Syria
4 million Syrians Displaced to Neighboring Countries
Data Source: UN OCHA
Source: Charity Navigator
So, I’m off to search for a box. . . I used to keep them but have been in a throw away mode lately, so I might come up empty-handed.
I hope you are off to a great day.
What is your family history? What do you do to fall back asleep at night? How do you contribute to your favorite charities, goods or money donations?
Enjoy Your Day!