Press Release- Faith and Heart: Uniting to Help Syrian Refugees Volunteer Event
Actor F. Murray Abraham and Sarah Sayeed, Senior Advisor in the Community Affairs Unit at the NYC Mayor's Office, at the Faith and Heart volunteer event.
Contact: Eric Greenberg
NEW YORK, NY June 26, 2016 – In a groundbreaking humanitarian initiative, the PowrServ division of Heart to Heart International (HHI), a leading health delivery and crisis relief agency, has teamed up with the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees, the nation’s premiere interfaith coalition addressing the crisis, and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the global Jewish humanitarian group, to unite diverse faith groups - as well as corporate sponsors including Henry Schein, Inc., FedEx Corporation and BD - to assemble thousands of emergency relief kits that will be distributed to needy Syrians in refugee camps in Turkey by our partner Orient for Human Relief.
The event, called “Faith & Heart: Uniting to Help Syrian Refugees,” brings together hundreds of volunteers representing different religions on Sunday, June 26, 2016 from 12pm to 5pm ET at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City. This is the largest and most religiously diverse gathering held to assemble emergency supplies for Syrian refugees. Special guests scheduled to join the volunteer effort include Academy Award-winning actor F. Murray Abraham.
“Heart to Heart International is extremely proud of today’s humanitarian event. Volunteers from New York City’s faith-based organizations will assemble desperately needed hygiene kits for Syrian refugees. Personal hygiene is one of the top needs for people impacted by crisis and these kits can be the first line of defense against the spread of illness,” said Jim Mitchum, CEO of Heart to Heart International.
“In addition to the kits built today, Heart to Heart will contribute an incremental 7,500 hygiene kits to the shipment designated for Turkey, bringing relief to over 15,000 refugees, primarily vulnerable women and children,” added Mitchum.
“MFA is honored to be working with Heart to Heart and our partner JDC to deliver urgently needed aid to thousands of Syrian refugees,” said Dr. Georgette Bennett, founder and president of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, who launched MFA in 2013. “This is the first time that members of so many different faith groups – Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Mormons and Muslims – have been brought together to work, shoulder to shoulder, to help Syrian refugees in dire need of the most basic necessities of life. As we grapple with the divisiveness in the public square, this event is a shining example for our city, our nation, and the world, demonstrating how religious communities can rise above politics and work together to alleviate enormous suffering.”
“We're proud to join our long-time partners, and the wider NYC faith community, in this remarkable volunteer effort to aid Syrian refugees. As our participation is driven by the Jewish value of tikkun olam, repairing the world, and the Jewish people's long history of displacement and oppression, we understand deeply the curative power of hope — whether in the form of food, medicine, clothing, shelter, or a shoulder to cry on — for those facing unbearable odds and a humanitarian crisis which requires global action,” said Alan H. Gill, CEO of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).
During the five-hour event more than 750 volunteers will work together to assemble more than 7,500 kits to help refugees meet many basic needs in hygiene and personal health by providing resources including shampoo, soap, combs, toothbrushes and toothpaste, all of which can be difficult or impossible to find in refugee camps. Event participants will also assemble kits designed to meet the specific needs of women and girls living in refugee camps, who can be especially vulnerable when displaced from their communities. The women’s kits will also include products such as reusable menstrual pads. Once the kits are assembled in New York, they will be shipped to Turkey for distribution to refugees by the non-governmental organization Orient for Human Relief.
Registered Syrian refugees now number 4.8 million, while another six million people remain displaced inside of Syria. Most of those displaced are women and children, with over 50 percent of refugees being children under the age of 18. Thousands of families are struggling to survive, and efforts to relocate mean that millions of people routinely lack many necessities to address basic needs in personal care or hygiene that can help to prevent illness.
Each year, HHI organizes volunteer efforts to produce and deliver hygiene kits to thousands of refugees and other displaced people in need around the world. The kits can offer a first line of defense against the spread of disease and can also help refugees maintain dignity and care for their families under often very challenging circumstances.
“Henry Schein has long been committed to supporting the health needs of vulnerable populations through our global corporate social responsibility program, Henry Schein Cares, and we are pleased to join with our partner organizations to provide Syrian refugees with the hygiene supplies they need to maintain their overall health,” said Stanley M. Bergman, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Henry Schein, Inc. “FedEx is honored to mobilize our global network and deliver aid to the children, women and men affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria as a part of our FedEx Cares initiative,” added Neil Gibson, vice president, corporate communications, FedEx Services.