Volunteers are busy sorting a room full of food and clothing in far Southwest Houston. They’re being packaged and loaded into a huge container, ready for shipment to Syria.
Ilyas Choudry is with the group Helping Hands for Relief and Development. The packing and loading happens on the weekend.
“We have already received I think more than one container full of items, and within 10-25 mile radius inside of Syria from the border of Turkey, it’s kind of a secure area. A lot of people are refugees in Turkey, but also there are a lot of people who are internally displaced and are living in Syria in camps.”
Helping Hands is assisting in the U.S. government’s help to Syria. He says the government’s life-saving aid is intentionally not labeled as to not endanger its recipients or the humanitarian workers helping to deliver it.
“This is just a small effort, and humanity comes first you know, so you may have some maybe at a personal level, we may have some kind of political inclination, but that should not affect you in helping the humanity.”
Yet some people involved in the effort can’t help being touched by the strife, like Najah Tibi from Syria, who founded Houston’s Alliance for Humanity.
“I know some people use the videos and the pictures as motivation to keep going, and you just kind of breakdown because it’s really hard to imagine losing your home and then family members, and then you’re living in constant fear that you might die and at any moment a bomb might be dropped on you. You’re living like second-to-second. Literally, it’s horrible.”
Ilyas Choudry with Helping Hands for Relief and Development, helps Najah Tibi with Houston’s Alliance for Humanity in sorting items being sent to Syria.
She takes comfort in the overwhelming response from Houstonians to the relief effort.
“When we first started out, I was dealing with the Syrian community, so it was limited, and the word got out and the response has been amazing. We’ve had people from all kinds of backgrounds, race, religion I mean, everything. It’s been amazing. Honestly every little bit helps, so I’m very happy with the response from Houston.”
Last year U.S. contributions of humanitarian assistance totaled $210 million.
Supplies reached millions of people inside Syria, as well as refugees outside the country.
You can find links to assist at www.hhrd.us, or by calling Najah Tibi at 281 919-3325.