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'Devastating times' | Turkish community in Connecticut collects donations following disastrous earthquakes

Clothing and supplies are being collected at different locations including Sultan's Turkish Restaurant in Waterbury and the Diyanet Mosque of New Haven.

HARTFORD, Conn. — The Turkish community in Connecticut is hurting after devastating earthquakes left thousands of people dead and widespread destruction in Turkey and Syria.

"We love our country. And I feel what kind of pain my people go through right now," said Selim Ergin, co-owner of Sultan's Turkish Restaurant.

"A lot of people is under the rubble, it’s devastating times," said Musa Ugurlu, secretary of the Diyanet Mosque of New Haven.

Many people here have felt compelled to help. Donations are being collected at different locations, including Sultan’s Turkish Restaurant in Waterbury.

"It could be coats, jackets, sweaters, pants, boots, socks," Ergin said. "I had several calls, our customers calling in to see what they could do. They also want to help financially," he said.

The Diyanet Mosque of New Haven is also stepping up to help.

"Imagine you lost everything in one day. Whatever you can think of please bring it here," Ugurlu said.

The Turkish mosque has been filled with people sorting through the donations for the past couple of days. Stacking boxes upon boxes of clothing and supplies for those in need.

"We’re very far away but I have family over in turkey and distant family has been immensely impacted by this and just doing whatever we can to help just seems like the bare minimum," said Victoria Ozdemir of Stratford.

Through the Turkish consulate in Boston, the donations have already started to make their way overseas.

"Almost every day we have a flight that goes to turkey. Once we have an airplane full then it goes to Turkey. So this is going to continue as long as they ask for us our help," Ugurlu said.

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Fortunately, there have been plenty who are willing to help already.

"That’s the power of humanity is just being there with other people in hard times good and bad," Ozdemir said.

Donations can be dropped off at Sultan's Turkish Restaurant at 586 Plank Road, Waterbury, CT 06705, or the Diyanet Mosque of New Haven at 531 Middletown Ave., New Haven, CT 06513.

Some of the items being collected are:

  • Winter jackets
  • Boots
  • Hats and gloves
  • Socks
  • Clothing
  • Tents
  • Sleeping bags
  • Feminine Hygiene Products

Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at mmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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