Rumi Forum partnered with American Turkish Friendship Association for a Gala dinner and a blanket drive to help Syrian Refugees currently seeking shelter in Southern Turkey. Building on the success of a similar campaign in 2013, Rumi Forum, ATFA, Embrace Relief and local governments from Northern Virginia partnered for a blanket drive and donation campaign to help Syrian refugees in Turkey. Blankets were collected across Washington DC metropolitan area until November 22, 2014. As a result, 25 thousand blankets were collected and 100 thousand dollars were raised. A gala dinner to conclude the campaign was held at the Tyson’s Corner Marriott on December 4, 2014 with a great participation across Northern Virgina. US Representatives Gerry Connolly and Barbara Comstock gave brief remarks commending the efforts to help Syrian refugees in Turkey. During the event Kimse Yok Mu and Paxton Van Lines were honored for their help in taking the collected funds and blankets to the refugees in Turkey. Local businessman Robert Bassam was also recognized for his donation of 2000 blankets. At the end of the night, Osman Dulgeroglu received a $98000 check on behalf of Embrace Relief, the organization that partners with Kimse Yok Mu in Turkey in reaching out the refugees. Scott York of Loudoun County, Bob Lazaro of NVRC, Delegate Mark Sickles and Prince William County Supervisor Martin Nohe also attended. This year’s blanket drive was covered at the Washington Post and other local media. Host Committee for the Gala Dinner were as following:·
- Congressman Rob Wittman
- Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova
- Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York
- Virginia Senator Adam Ebbin
- House of Delegates Member Delegate Mark Sickles
- City of Alexandria Mayor Bob Euille
- Prince William County Supervisor Martin Nohe
The Story Behind the Blanket Drive and the Help Campaign
American Turkish Friendship Association (ATFA) in partnership local officials in Northern Virginia organized a blanket drive for Syrian refugees in Turkey in 2013. A group of local officials including former Purcellville mayor Robert W. Lazaro and Loudoun Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott K. York visited Turkey as part of a study tour in October 2013, where they had a chance to visit Syrian refugee camps. When the tour participants asked the refugees how they could help, they suggested sending blankets to cover against the cold winters. Upon their return to the States a blanket drive was organized and 18000 blankets as well as $15000 donations were colleted, In January 2014, Scott York, Loundon County Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Loudoun County, Bob Lazaro Jr., Mayor of Town of Purcellville, Mark Gibb,Executive Director of Northern Virginia Regional Commission, and Mustafa Akpinar, ATFA Board Member and Principal of Pinnacle Academy visited back the camps and helped with the delivery of blankets. Click here to learn more about the last year’s campaing.
Rumi Forum Continues the Help Campaigns
Rumi Forum is part of another campaign that was started as a result of a trip to Turkey organized by Rumi Forum. The delegation visited refugee camps in Gaziantep and upon their return partnered with Rumi Forum to raise $15000 for the Syrian refugees in Turkey. To learn more about that campaign click here.