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Giving a Saturday for Syria’s Children

Caroline Dzeba is Marketing Coordinator for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. This past Saturday, she joined 70 other volunteers at a facility in Carteret, New Jersey to pack warm winter clothing kits for children affected by the war in Syria.

Caroline Dzeba at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF's Syrian winter clothing kits packing event.

Caroline Dzeba at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s Syrian winter clothing kits packing event.

It’s always good to take the weekend to get a sense of perspective. For the volunteers from the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and UPS that gathered in Carteret, New Jersey, early Saturday morning, we were humbled by the chance we had to help the children of Syria — simply by giving up a small part of our weekend.

Another year of violence has left more than 1 million children living as refugees outside Syria. Many of these children, who fled with just the clothes on their backs and are now living in refugee tents, are unprepared for the freezing temperatures winter will bring.

“We’re here because we don’t think that’s okay.” That’s how our senior vice president Rajesh Anandan summed up the spirit of the 70 volunteers who came to the facility to pack kits of winter clothes for Syria’s child refugees.

Two UPS volunteers and U.S. Fund Senior Vice President Rajesh Anandan.

Two UPS volunteers and U.S. Fund Senior Vice President Rajesh Anandan.

Volunteers worked together to quickly pack 2,500 kits, each including a jacket, thermals, sweatpants, a hoody, socks, gloves and a hat.  I helped assemble kits for 5-year-old girls. As each small set of clothes passed through my hands, I thought about how much it would mean to the young girl who’d wear it. Because of UNICEF’s efforts, she would have a jacket and hat this winter. She would be sheltered from the elements. She could walk to school.

17,500 more winter clothing kits for Syria’s child refugees will be packed in Louisville, Kentucky. Thanks to the combined efforts of UNICEF, the U.S. Fund, UPS and our partners who donated clothing items, 20,000 winter clothing kits will reach Syrian children by December 1.

Volunteers at the UPS facility in Carteret, New Jersey.

Volunteers at the facility in Carteret, New Jersey.

The experience was overwhelming and emotional, but filled me with hope. It’s easy to feel powerless about the fate of Syria’s child refugees, but as I learned on Saturday, it’s just as easy to know you can make a difference. It was an honor to work alongside friends from UPS and UNICEF to do just that.

Just 48 cents can buy a pair of gloves for children in need in Syria. Please help UNICEF keep these children warm this winter.

 

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