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Western Massachusetts nonprofits gather items for victims of Turkey earthquake

Volunteer Halil Kuzu stands next to bags of clothing donated for Turkish earthquake victims at the Peace Valley Foundation in Agawam, Massachusetts on February 10, 2023.
Alden Bourne
/
NEPM
Volunteer Halil Kuzu stands next to bags of clothing donated for Turkish earthquake victims at the Peace Valley Foundation in Agawam, Massachusetts on February 10, 2023.

Western Massachusetts nonprofits are gathering supplies to send to Turkey after major earthquakes hit that country and Syria earlier this week.

In a large room at the Peace Valley Foundation in Agawam, eight women sorted bags of donated winter clothing.

Halil Kuzu volunteers with the group, which serves the local Turkish community. He said the more urgent need now is for personal care products.

"We need baby diapers, we need toilet paper, and we need wet towels for the babies," he said. "Toothbrushes, toothpaste, and the feminine products, the feminine pads and everything, they need."

Kuzu said his parents, his five sisters and brothers and their children live near the epicenter and had to flee their homes.

He said they have moved from sleeping in cars to sharing two shipping containers. "It's crowded, 29 people as of yesterday," he said.

Busra Yanbul, whose parents are from Turkey, has also been helping gather items for earthquake victims.

"We are currently collecting thermoses, flashlights, batteries, blankets, winter clothing, liquid baby formula, and diapers," said Yanbul, who is a graduate student at American International College in Springfield.

Yanbul said donated items can be dropped off during business hours at three locations: Oscar's Pizza, Bella Rome Pizza in Westfield, and the Imam Buhari Mosque in Springfield.

Halil Kuzu said the Peace Valley Foundation is also accepting more items.

The donated goods will be driven to the Turkish consulate in Boston then put on a cargo plane for Turkey.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.

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