Sewa AmeriCorps Members Send 200+ Boxes of Relief Material to Turkey & Syria

HOUSTON: Sewa International Houston’s AmeriCorps team organized a donation drive on February 18 in support of the victims of the earthquake in Syria and Turkey. People from different communities all over Houston came together to donate hundreds of items including food, clothes, winter coats, hygiene items, outdoor supplies, tents, hand warmers, shoes, and baby necessities.

Sewa AmeriCorps was able to secure partnerships with the National Association of Christian Churches (NACC) to ensure the delivery of these goods to both Turkey and Syria, the American Turkish Association of Houston for help promoting the event, and the Syrian American Club of Houston who promoted the event and provided several volunteers from their community for the event.

The Sewa AmeriCorps team received more than 150 cardboard boxes donated by Home Depot, Lowes, and U-Haul into which volunteers sorted and packed all of the donations, and transported them to the NACC office. Over 200 boxes were taken to the NACC warehouse, filling over three pickup trucks, a trailer, an SUV, and a big U-Haul truck.

NACC has partnered with Turkish Airlines and will deliver these supplies by air to Syria and Turkey. They will then coordinate with local NGOs, non-profits, and government organizations to ensure the packages reach the earthquake survivors in both Turkey and Syria.

During the drive, one of the donors, Danya, came along with her friend to donate items. Her young son asked if he could donate $28 as that was the total money he had. Children from another family donated their favorite blankets and sweatshirts specifically to send them to kids in Syria even though these items were dear to them. People showed great interest in any similar future donation drives by Sewa-AmeriCorps.

Sewa International’s former president, Ms. Manju Gupta, who came to donate items during this drive said, “This is amazing work. It needed a lot of planning, hard work, and dedication to get this done. Kudos to the Sewa International and AmeriCorps team.”

Kira Reyna, a Sewa-AmeriCorps member and the team lead for this drive said, “I am completely overwhelmed with gratitude at the response we have received from the community, especially considering that this drive was announced on Monday and took place on Saturday. The amount of love, compassion, generosity, and the sense of community that came from this event was just incredible and I’m overjoyed to have been a part of it.”

Sewa International has also started a Facebook fundraising campaign for Turkey and Syria earthquake victims and has raised $15,000. Volunteers from Sewa International’s partner organization, Food For Life (FFL), have started relief work in the earthquake-hit areas of Turkey, serving about 800-1200 meals daily in villages near Antakya, the capital of Hatay Province, the southernmost province of Turkey. While Sewa Europe is planning to  send volunteers to offer help on the ground in Turkey, Sewa USA is preparing to send tents that can accommodate large families.

About Sewa International

Sewa International, a leading Hindu faith-based Indian American nonprofit organization with 43 Chapters in twenty-five US States, has extensive experience in disaster rescue, relief, and rehabilitation operations having responded to 25 disasters in the US and abroad. Since early 2020, Sewa International has been in the forefront in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2017, after Hurricane Harvey struck the Houston area, Sewa volunteers helped in the rescue of nearly 700 people and have served thousands of affected families since then through their case management services. Sewa raised over $3 million for Hurricane Harvey recovery to  rebuild homes and greenhouses that serve as means of livelihood. Sewa International has also rendered relief in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2018, Hurricane Imelda in 2019 and Hurricane Ian & Fiona in 2022.

Among its accolades, Sewa International has been recognized by Charity Navigator – the premier nonprofit rating agency – as the number five among the “10 Highly Rated Charities Relying on Private Contributions.” Sewa has for the last three years continuously scored the topmost-rated 4-star from Charity Navigator, and has earned perfect scores for its Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency.

About AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps is an independent agency of the United States Government that engages more than five million Americans in service through a variety of stipended volunteer work programs in many sectors. The agency’s mission is “to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering”.