BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Tech Turkish Student Association stood in unison and in silence as they honored the lives lost in the earthquake in Turkey and Syria.
The last two weeks have been heartbreaking for a group of Hokies who are watching their homes destroyed while being thousands of miles away.
Following the earthquake, the Turkish Student Association started collecting monetary and in-kind donations to help with disaster relief. At one point during the course of the collection, the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C. did not have the capacity for any more donations.
“There was an overflow of donations at the embassy. We were like … we can not handle this anymore. This is great but at the same time … such an overwhelming amount of donations,” Ipek Eroglu said.
On Friday afternoon, the group was able to pack up a car with all the donations collected and send them up to D.C.
Afterward, the group took to the patio of the War Memorial Chapel on Virginia Tech’s campus. The group took a moment of silence to remember the lives lost.
“This was a … just taking a small moment to commemorate the lost ones, the ones that are affected from this terrible disaster,” Eroglu said. “It was also a moment for us because we feel a deep pain since February 6. Our hearts are in Turkey. We feel really sad, we feel heartbroken.”
The group has relied on each other more than ever. Murat Ambarkutuk said their focus has been on the students who have been impacted the most.
“We have some students that are directly affected by this disaster so we would like to show them that we are here for them. “Even though we are far away from home, we were able to get together and hold those support meetings to show each other compassion … love,” Ambarkutuk said.
While the in-kind donations have stopped, you can still donate money to the overall fund.