Donations to Middle East Earthquake Victims Take an Assembly Line of DeSales Volunteers to Process Them

Kubra Saymez Middle East earthquake relief organizer
Image via WFMZ 96 News.
Kubra Saymez.

In the aftermath of the Feb. 6 Middle East earthquake, registering 7.8 on the Richter Scale, DeSales University became a collection point for Lehigh Valley residents’ relief donations. Grace Griffaton reported the generous response for WFMZ 69 News.

The quake’s epicenter damaged a 300,000 sq. km. region, a span that roughly equates to the area of Germany. It was felt as far away as Egypt and Israel.

In its aftermath, survivors have been left without many essentials, which prompted the DeSales collection effort.

Two days into the call for items, so many had been brought to the Center Valley site that an assembly line of students and faculty was required to sort, log, and prepare the goods for shipment.

Additional Needs

The generosity is certainly appreciated; however, specific needs are still being identified.

“Clothing, boots, shoes — men’s, toddler and baby,” cited Kubra Saymez, the freshman president of the DeSales Muslim Student Association (MSA). “But right now, actually, a lot of baby food and formula and diapers in Turkey are lacking,” she explained.

Also difficult to find — and therefore recommended for donation — are blankets, tents, and sleeping bags.

“In Turkey, medication is very expensive, and right now, because the infrastructure, because the way it’s now crushed, they’re in need of all these things,” Saymez said.

“I’m actually Turkish myself,” she continued. “I have a lot of Turkish friends, families. I have a lot of Syrian friends.

“A part of my family in Turkey was affected. So it does hit a bit close to home just seeing them struggling and living in devastation in the cold weather right now.”

“All One Body”

MSA is collaborating with other Lehigh Valley organizations to gather essentials and financial donations to send overseas.

“We’re all one body. All Muslims are one body. When one limb is affected, we all feel the pain,” said Naila Amana, a freshman and MSA vice president.

“This is personal for us, and it’s also our duty as Muslims to help other people in need whether they’re Muslim or non-Muslim.”

The students started in a smaller space but had to move into the DeSales University Center because of the number of donations received.

Staff Involvement

Their efforts have not gone unnoticed by DeSales faculty and staff.

“The university is on spring break, but I can’t say no to the kids,” said Brian Mauro, Director of Auxiliary Services.

“They wanted to spend their spring break helping others rather than going out and having some fun, sleeping in. They wanted to serve.”

“It’s overwhelming but in the best way possible,” added Amana.

How the Public Can Continue to Help

The Middle East earthquake relief collection runs until Mar. 31.

Members of the community can bring new and kindly used items to the collection site at DeSales.

More on this story — including a list of other locations accepting donations — is at WFMZ 69 News.


DW News coverage of the Middle East earthquake.

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