Today Justo, Harriet and I visited the Ankara Refugee Center that we just learned about last Sabbath. It was started four months ago by the church that we rent worship space from. They already have over 5000 refugees, mainly from Syria and Iraq, in their database of clients and have recently rented a large building to help meet more needs. I managed to take a few photos to share the experience with you.
Several small churches from different denominations that exist in Ankara are combining resources to reach as many refugees as possible. Current services include food boxes, clothing, minor first aid, and a child care room open while parents receive assistance. They are starting free English language classes soon and also hope to eventually offer bible studies as well.
Our local Adventist group is currently participating by donating clothing and volunteers to help out on distribution days. We are looking forward to seeing how much we can be involved. It would be amazing if we could raise enough funds to sponsor a program or service each week!
They have set up a registration process with numbered ID cards to ensure that resources are well-managed and fairly divided. Every time they have enough funds to have a distribution day, they send out text messages equal to the number of food boxes they have available. They rotate through the list to ensure that each family has an opportunity to receive help, but they have yet to serve everyone on the list and refugees continue to sign up every week.
How can you get involved? You can donate money directly to the ministry on their website. For $10 you can provide one food box to a family. Each food box contains rice, lentils, pasta, oil, salt, tea, and sugar. They estimate that this box can feed a family of three for one week. Today they distributed 500 boxes! A recent $4000 donation from an expat in Turkey helped them accomplish this. Tomorrow another church will be running a food distribution with 100 boxes. Their top need right now, besides food, is winter clothing and blankets. As you can see in the pictures they have very little clothing to give out! Justo and I were wishing we had a mountain of donated clothing, like what TSC has :) If you would like to keep refugees warm this winter I can facilitate the purchase of clothing and blankets on your behalf. Just contact me.
We have been praying for a door to open, for a way to get involved with our local community. Going to school is great, but becoming a part of something bigger while we are here is even better!