The young boys are the first to race out to meet the distribution truck. They lean in toward the bed of the truck, filled with bags and boxes of food—enough to keep their families fed for a week.
“It is not raining now, but it was earlier and will be later… it is very cold.” When our colleague Michel, along with our local partners, arrive at this school in northeast Syria, they are greeted by 43 families who are really glad to see them.
Eight weeks ago, these families were in homes of their own, cooking meals three times a day, going to work, and taking care of their regular daily chores. But the violence that is so dramatically changing the northeastern section of Syria tucked up under the Turkish border, drove them from home and completely upended their lives. They fled with nothing but the clothes they were wearing, and now find refuge in school buildings in communities a little way south of home.
So often, the pictures of mass displacement that fill our news feeds are those of huge camps run by large organizations, with tents arranged in long rows, as dense as corn planted in the Iowa plains. These camps—and the aid organizations that run them—are essential for meeting the housing crises that come with war.
But they do not represent the whole story.
Not all families flee to camps. Right now, dozens of neighborhoods in safe communities are doing their best to absorb thousands of families. The needs that accompany displaced families are more than neighborhoods can cope with on their own.
They need you.
Emergency Food Packs
School classrooms quickly cleared of desks to make room for fleeing families provide shelter, but it’s still not home. Families need food that is familiar, filling—things they can eat now and things that are simple to prepare using portable propane burners that were already available, like this one.
Families also need food that is simple to transport, in case there is an opportunity to return home.
Currently, food packs contain:
- ready-to-eat foods like cheese, canned meat, fish, and beans
- tea and sugar
- za’atar and date syrup
- lentils, groats, and rice
- pasta, ramen noodles, oil, and tomato paste
Anywhere you find dozens of families living in difficult conditions, you will find a wide range of medical needs. From children who develop respiratory infections with the onset of winter, or elderly women who run out of their prescription for high blood pressure, to men who were seriously injured in bomb blasts—each needs medical care to prevent worsening symptoms.
Our mobile medical clinic and teams of teams of doctors, nurses, and midwives visit families right at the schools where they’re staying. From the moment they pop open the back doors of the vehicle, they’re ready to help all who come—with basic care that can be given on the spot, and referrals to area hospitals for more serious conditions.
The world is ready to move on from Syria, fatigued by years of need. But Syrian families, trapped by new waves of violence, continue to need friends to stand alongside.
Now is when pressing in is most essential. Now is when tangible expressions of love most need to be experienced—in the form of ready-to-eat food and medical care.