City of Falls Church Mayor David Tarter and officials from the Northern Virginia Regional Commission recently traveled to Istanbul, Turkey to distribute coats and blankets to refugees. The items were donated through collection drives throughout Northern Virginia, including the City of Falls Church, in late 2015. More than 149,000 pounds of items were donated, enough to fill nine moving vans – more than double the previous year’s collection. The trip was sponsored and paid for by a Turkish non-profit organization.
“I am proud of the kindness and generosity of the citizens of Falls Church,” said Tarter. “I was privileged to see the donation drive run full circle, starting with collection boxes at the Community Center and the schools and ending with the chance to personally hand bags of much-needed blankets and coats to the refugee children in Turkey. Our donations were warmly received, and made a big difference in the lives of these families.” Volunteer Barb Cram was instrumental in organizing the City’s community drive. Students at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School and George Mason High School led the efforts in the schools. In Istanbul, the delegation sorted, packaged and distributed the donations along with food to refugees in neighborhoods and a school.
This is the third year that volunteers from communities across the region have mobilized to collect items for Syrian refugees.