12 million Syrians – half of Syria’s population from a country about the size of North Dakota – have fled their homes since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011. That’s more than the 10 million people who live in Los Angeles County. Almost 70% of these refugees are women and children, according to the U.S. State Department. Here are links to organizations, both large and small, that are making a difference: The one organization that I have a personal connection to is Franklin Lamb’s grassroots group that is providing meals to Syrian refugee children in Lebanon for a mere $2.25US/child/meal. Donate here: USA account: Checks or wire transfers to the umbrella organization ‘‘Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace’’ (ACMEP), indicating ‘‘Meals for Syrian Children: Lebanon’’ Initiative. ACMEP/Meals for Syrian Children PNC Bank, Reston, Virginia The bank account Swift Code: PNCCUS33 ACMEP/Meals for Syrian Children 1575 AutumnRidgeCircle, Reston, VA 20194. Contact person: Michael Maloof, (firstname.lastname@example.org) IRS tax-free ID# is 46-4491642. Beirut account: 01-556-781or +961 – 01-5560-728. Account No. 067-58573 2008 IBAN Code LB91005300CEUSD006758573 2008 SWIFT Code: CLIBLBBX
LARGE INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS: From NBC’s Today.com
The UN Refugee Agency: Distributes sleeping bags, blankets, raincoats, socks, clothes and footwear to the most vulnerable refugees.
Save the Children: Supplies food for Syrian kids and supports education in Syrian refugee camps.
Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders: Operates two rescue ships in the Mediterranean Sea that can carry hundreds of people to land.
Unicef: Delivers vaccines, clothes and food for children in Syria and neighboring countries.
International Rescue Committee: Works in Greece, where thousands of people are arriving per day. Aid workers provide clean water and sanitation, and help new arrivals navigate the transit process and understand their legal rights.
World Food Programme: Meets the urgent food needs of millions of displaced Syrians.
Mercy Corps: Provides clean water, sanitation services, temporary shelter and food.
Aylan Kurdi & Syria’s Child Victims of War: Named after Aylan Kurdi, the 3-year-old whose photo of his drown body washed on the shore of Bodrum, Turkey, touched the world. Money goes to “Hand In Hand For Syria,” a U.K. based organization that works with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
CARE: Reaches Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Yemen and those displaced inside Syria with food, hygiene items and emergency cash.
LOCALIZED ORGANIZATIONS: From Public Radio Organization: There are other, smaller groups doing incredible work on the ground, every day. Here are six, smaller groups we’ve vetted that you can help right away.
Migrant Offshore Aid Station: Saves children like Aylan Kurdi, with a fleet of rescue boats patrolling the Mediterranean to save migrants lost at sea.
Refugees Welcome: A kind of “Airbnb for refugees,” this German nonprofit matches people with spare rooms with refugees in need of housing. If you don’t have a spare bed in Germany, you can still donate.
The Worldwide Tribe in Calais: Documents stories in the Calais migrant camp and provides relief funds.
Small Projects Istanbul: Provides classes and cultural enrichment and scholarships to Syrian children in Turkey.
Hand in Hand for Syria: One of the few organizations that directly provides aid on the ground in Syria, including food, clothing, water, sanitation and crucial medical assistance to “help people to stay in Syria instead of fleeing to another country.” They accept donations via their page on JustGiving.com.
The White Helmets: Also known as the Syrian Civil Defence, rescue workers rush in after the bombs land each day. They’re credited with saving more than 22,000 lives so far.
Watanili: Rebuilds Syria through a series of small grassroots initiatves. A recent project, ‘Cinema on the Go,’ uses film to combat the effects of trauma on the children.
International Medical Corporation: Delivers vital health care services that focuses on training, helping devastated populations return to self-reliance.
Medical Teams International: Helps Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Volunteers “monitor chronic disease patients in their homes and provide families and communities with vital information on chronic disease recognition, management and disease prevention. “Just $10 ships $1,450 worth of medicines – antibiotics, sterile syringes, bandages, birthing kits, splints for broken bones – and other life-saving supplies!”
ShelterBoxUSA: Provides emergency shelter and supplies to families affected by the Syrian crisis in Iraq Kurdistan, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, including clothing, stoves and, water filters.
CANADIANS: From the Government of Canada, a list of how individuals can DONATE or VOLUNTEER or SPONSOR Syrian refugees.