By C.D. DESALVO
With so much going on in our own country, sometimes it is easy to forget about the harsh realities that others around our world are facing. For citizens of Syria, the past six years have been devastating. Caught in the middle of an all-out war between opposing alliances, Syria has become the battleground in the Middle East, forcing Syrians to face the difficult and often fatal choice of either choosing sides or fleeing the country.
As millions of Syrians escape to southern Europe, the rest of the world has taken notice of the conflicts going on in Syria, including Tigers In Service, which is a student-operated program created by the Fort Hays State University Center for Civic Leadership.
TIS decided to participate in an Emergency Hygiene Kit Drive program to help send hygiene kits to Syrian refugees who have very little in their new and unfamiliar environments.
“Nearly 15 million people have been displaced from their homes, especially in Syria, because of civil unrest in their country. There is a lot of violence and the Syrians can only flee their homes with what they can carry on their backs,” said Alyssa Steppe, TIS student coordinator and primary leader of the project. “They are having to make these long, difficult journeys to their next home, so we thought this could be one small way that we can help them. A lot of times they have injuries and anything, even Band-Aids out of one of these hygiene kits could save someone from getting an infection or spreading diseases.”
The hygiene kits are being compiled with simple bathroom items that people might have extra of and if not, the items being asked for are inexpensive everyday hygiene tools.
“The kits are assembled with hand towels, washcloths, combs, nail files and nail clippers, bars of soap, toothbrushes, and band-aids. We are also accepting monetary donations that we can purchase supplies with and use to pay for the shipping of the items as well,” said Steppe.
So far TIS has close to 60 kits and counting and are continuing to take donations every day.
The Emergency Kits program is administered by the Church World Service and will be distributed to various locations in Southern Europe. The deadline to donate is April 8.
For anyone looking to donate, drop off locations for the items are: The Fort Hays State Memorial Union Starbucks and FHSU Custer Hall Room 202.
Checks should be made out to “FHSU” and any monetary donations can be sent to:
Tigers in Service
600 Park St.
Hays, KS 6761
If you have questions, you can contact Tigers In Service at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 785-628-5537.