By Serin Sarsour
Over 28,000 people have died in Turkey and Syria as a result of one of the deadliest earthquakes in decades that occurred on Feb. 6. Organizations, volunteers, and donors are helping those impacted by the earthquake, including Brooklyn College’s Muslims Giving Back club.
“As humans, we have a duty to help our brothers and sisters especially in such times of great need,” said Showda Shahid, a BC senior and the president of MGB. “[…] It would be wrong to not use our platform to help, no matter how big or small our efforts are.”
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake demolished streets and homes of thousands after hitting the southern part of Turkey and northern Syria, according to the New York Times. The death toll continues to rise as the region faces over a decade of war and is still struggling with a refugee crisis.
At Brooklyn College, MGB has partnered with Masal, a Turkish restaurant based in Brooklyn, to provide relief through partnered organizations such as Islamic Relief and the Turkish Embassy.
“MGB’s plans are twofold. Firstly, we are working with Masal in order to gather supplies to be sent over to Turkey. They will be collecting the supplies at their restaurant and are offering incentives for those who donate. This includes a free drink and having 10% of their bill donated to relief efforts,” Shahid said.
Meanwhile on campus, MGB is bringing back a campaign they organized in the past called “Country of the Week.” Through its campaign, MGB is engaging with students and faculty, as well as the club’s social media followers, to raise funds for earthquake relief. MGB will host a bake sale, an awareness discussion, and a game day from Tuesday, Feb. 14 to Thursday, Feb. 16 as part of its campaign.
Shahid highlighted the significance of combining the individual platforms of MGB and the Masal restaurant to gain more support and reach a broader audience. “Having the support of such an establishment is truly heartwarming as a small club on a college campus and we are so grateful to have their support and to work with them,” said Shahid.
Thousands of people in Turkey and Syria have been saved from the earthquake’s resulting rubble by rescue workers, but there are still many more who are buried underneath collapsed infrastructure and separated from their loved ones. The supplies MGB has collected on campus include winter clothing, blankets, hygiene products, diapers, baby formula, and more in new condition. Due to an overwhelming amount of support already, MGB will no longer be collecting supplies.
MGBs at other CUNYs are also providing earthquake relief efforts, including the City College of New York. Their MGB club is organizing a social media campaign to raise funds and encourage everyone to get involved, not just CCNY students.
MGB aims to use their platform to get the BC community involved and make it more accessible for everyone to donate. The club appreciates the support and donations they have received thus far, and look forward to continuing to raise funds for Turkey’s earthquake relief efforts.
“[…] To think the few dollars we raise, the few pieces of clothing we gather, can help someone who so tragically has lost everything, is a feeling, a contentment you will find nowhere else,” Shahid said.