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Refugee crisis---how can we help?

Any ideas for how North Americans can help ease the misery? Most effective relief organizations to contribute to?

Posted by
10707 posts

Mercycorps is every bit a 4 Star rated charity. You cant do much better if you want your money to reach the intended purpose. 83% of what you donate will end up in the hands of the needy. The rest are expected and necessary overhead costs. WELL DONE. I would like to find a charity that is a little more focused on the immediate crisis in Europe as well. Buty my first donation goes to Mercycorps. Thanks for posting it.

Posted by
1033 posts

I affirm what Mona says about the work of United Methodist Committee on Relief......which has been active since dealing w refugees of WWI. other churches may have similar options, but I'm familiar with the UMC.

Because they utilize the church structure already in place (like the German local clergy being interviewed in the article) , 100 percent of donations will go to helping the refugees,
I don't think there have been problems with immbelizement, which occasionally plagued the red cross in the 1990s.....

Posted by
11676 posts

Thanks! I went to Charity Navigator to check things out. In addition to Mercy Corps and UMC, both of which have 4-star ratings, I found the International Rescue Committee, which devotes 91% to funding programs. They have a special area on their website to donate to their "emergency response" to the crisis in Europe ( as opposed to their ongoing relief efforts elsewhere in the world).

http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=3898#.VesiW5K9KSM

I also like the idea of the UMC effort, since they have churches and pastors in Germany already engaged in the effort.

And MercyCorps is a long-time favorite in Seattle, since they started here.

Posted by
10707 posts

Sorry, i should have checked out United Methodist Committee on Relief as well. Also a 4 star rating with an astonishing 94% going to those in need.

Not that its perfect, but i use this before i give: http://www.charitynavigator.org/

Posted by
3304 posts

I just contacted a Syrian friend who is the president of the Syrian association here in Los Angeles and who sits on the board of several organizations that help refugees in the Middle East and in Europe. As soon as I hear back from him about which organizations are most active I'll post the information here.

Posted by
1803 posts

While very admirable to want to help the refugees overseas, I would hope that for every dollar donated to this crisis, an equal amount is also donated to help the third of American children, or 1 out of 7 senior citizens who currently live below the poverty line in this country - many of these people right here within our own country aren't getting enough aid and are going without food, heat and medicine. There are some extremely high poverty rates contributing to a host of issues for these groups in certain pockets of the U.S., such as on the Native American Reservations. So consider also helping out those within our own borders with a similar donation as you are writing out checks for the refugees from overseas.

Posted by
4063 posts

I have worked in the refugee field for 21 years, both overseas and in the U.S.

Here are my suggestions for helping:

1) volunteer at a local refugee resettlement agency. There are about 300 in the US and they need support; 2) encourage your church/synagogue/mosque/work group to sponsor a newly-arrived refugee family; 3) be kind to refugees - they have been through hell; 4) sign a petition like this (https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/authorize-and-resettle-syrian-refugees-us) requesting the U.S. resettle 65,000 Syrians next year; 5) if you want to donate money to organizations in Europe, stick to the smaller, grassroots organizations. I would add that I have very personal experience with the following organizations - HIAS, IRC, Church World Service (UMCOR works through them), USCRI, LIRS (the Lutheran refugee agency). They are all dedicated to working exclusively with refugees. I know Mercy Corps, but they are not known for their refugee work.

Posted by
1835 posts

Thank you for all this information, Emily.

Posted by
18 posts

Migration Aid. They are on the ground in Budapest handing out necessities to refugees. You can't donate money directly to them, but you can send money to a pharmacy which will be used on medical supplies, or to TESCO (but make sure to check the list of needed items as it changes on a day-to-day basis!)

http://www.migrationaid.net/english/

It's the main civil society group organizing assistance for refugees at the train stations in budapest currently.

You can also buy train tickets to Austria or Germany for them if you find yourself physically in budapest.

Posted by
861 posts

You can also buy train tickets to Austria or Germany for them if you
find yourself physically in budapest.

In this case you support a criminal conduct.

Posted by
3304 posts

I heard back from my friend, Hassan, and here is the relevant piece of the email he sent to me with some additional information that I thought some of you may find interesting and informative...


Thank you for your kind heart and your dedication to help humanity. We have been in this terrible situation for almost 5 years. My heart aches every time I see and live those images. My nephew is among that refugee who made it to Germany.

I was in Turkey this summer for 45 days on a volunteering mission for the refugee camps to establish medical point, food baskets projects in addition to education projects. I opened two schools at the boarder and distributed 15000 protein meals . I saw the miseries and the hopelessness. I have not lost hope specially when I get email and phone calls from people that would like to help such as you. The most needed help now is inside Syria, then at the border then Europe. Once you make it to Europe you are almost okay but not everyone will make it there.

I sent four containers from Orange County in the last 8 months. We filled them with blankets, jackets, jeans, socks and shoes. I am working on school supplies Backpack drive for the month of Sept our goal is 1000 bags for $10 each, However I am thinking of a Cloth drive container in Palos Verdes area. The organization will pay for the transportation and the logistic. All I need is community awareness and involvement. I think if we put our minds and hearts in action we can do something.

You can help the Syria cause through this organization who specialize in the Syrian crises

Sunrise-USA it is 501-C(3) NGO you can check them on line at www. Sunrise-usa.org

There is another one but they are a very much general NGO who help all over the world called Helping hand http://www.hhrd.org/


Thanks to everyone on this page who chooses to help through these organizations or any others that are trying to support their fellow humans anywhere who need a helping hand!

Posted by
11676 posts

I just got a message from Tripadvisor. Their foundation is donation $250K to the refugee relief effort via Mercy Corps and IRC. In addition, they will match dollar for dollar what individuals contribute through their website. This means your donation will in effect be doubled. You can choose to direct your donation to one or the other of those organizations.