Donate To Save The Syrian Children Earthquake Relief Efforts

“As sad as it seems on TV, I guarantee it’s much sadder.”

Phil Koosed’s voice has the slightest bit of tremble to it. You can tell he’s still uncomfortable with the idea of applying guilt to his industry peers to solicit their help to his cause to save Syrian children in the wake of last week’s catastrophic earthquake. But right now, he’s just speaking in realities. The death toll in Syria and Turkey has now topped 35,000 from the natural disaster.

“The suffering is immense, and it will continue for months,” says Koosed, co-founder of BAMKO and chief strategy officer of its parent company Superior Group of Companies.

Koosed’s journey of humanitarianism in Syria started well before last week’s earthquake. He and his wife, Tamar, started the nonprofit Save The Syrian Children seven years ago from Sherman Oaks, California, in response to the Syrian civil war. Both come from Jewish heritage, with family who remembered the Holocaust and passed down a “never again” message.

The conflict in Syria was called a civil war, but functionally it was a genocide from Koosed’s vantage point. The way the Syrian government and Russian regimes were targeting civilians and bombing hospitals and marketplaces resulted in senseless death.

“Even if we save one kid,” Koosed says, describing the organization’s founding logic, “then that’s enough for us to put the effort toward this and really work on it.” They determined to get one shipping container of medical aid on the water and, eventually, in the hands of doctors.

Save The Syrian Children has far surpassed that initial goal and has shipped over $150 million of humanitarian aid in the past seven years. But following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on Feb. 6, with its epicenter just across the border in Turkey, the need for aid has never been more severe.

“It is the worst that it’s ever been,” Koosed said on Monday.

As rescue efforts turn to recovery, the focus shifts to those in hospitals. Without proper treatment, many who have emerged from the rubble will die in the coming days, weeks and months.

Koosed has learned to focus on the doctors. His job – apart from communicating with donors – is to aid, equip and empower those doctors. Giving doctors their best opportunity to save lives in Syria is probably the quickest way to sum up what Save The Syrian Children does.

“It’s mixed emotions,” Koosed says. “It’s inspiring and incredible to see that kind human spirit, but also the depths of sorrow and sadness is unlike anything I’ve experienced ever.”

Koosed says his 20 years in the promotional products industry helped Save The Syrian Children with logistics to help limit death during the civil war, including arranging ocean shipping of medical supplies. Colleagues throughout the industry have donated to his cause.

Now he’s calling on the industry for urgent help.

Pulling Industry Strings For Syria

Getting humanitarian aid from all over the world to the heart of a war zone is “tricky,” as Koosed puts it, but BAMKO’s supply chain logistics might not exactly seem simple to the uninitiated, albeit far less dangerous.

Koosed claims that how they put aid – often hospital overflow equipment from the U.S. and Europe – on the water for its voyage to Syria “is similar to how we put any promotional product on an ocean container.” From there, it will go on a truck to be shipped past the Turkish/Syrian border. Eventually, it will reach an undisclosed location, which remains anonymous because Russian and Syrian regimes are known to target warehouses of humanitarian aid.

Save The Syrian Children provides aid for 45 different hospitals and six internally displaced persons camps. Occasionally, instead of relying on leftover donations, the equipment is actually manufactured in China or India. Again, Koosed relied on his promo experience.

“Having 20 years in the industry made it so we could at least understand the sourcing and logistics component of it,” he says.

Your Chance To Help

On one hand, Koosed has provided a template. It’s clear that the promotional products supply chain can be something of a starting point for wrapping your head around global humanitarian aid.

But on the other hand, action is needed immediately, and Koosed will take all the help he can get from his industry peers.

Donations to Save The Syrian Children will go through an industry leader who had proven his merit in helping this country. “Please donate today to help save as many children as we can and to support those who escaped this horrifying tragedy,” the foundation’s website currently reads.

“You can reach out to me directly,” Koosed says to those in the industry who have the power and resources to help and want a starting point.

It’s the people with those resources, power, or even just connections who can save the most lives in the shortest time. Koosed says he can’t count how many times some of their largest donations came from individuals casually saying I think I might actually know someone over there who might be able to help or might want to. Acting on that impulse makes a huge difference, and “that huge difference can save lives and does,” Koosed says.

The promotional products world has already made a positive impact, according to Koosed.

“There’s been an incredible groundswell of support from within the industry.”

But aid is needed well past the time we stop seeing this earthquake covered on the news. A disaster of this scope will see people in the hospital for months beyond this very moment. If you’re reading this, Koosed just doesn’t want you to let hopelessness win out.

“A message of hope is that if you believe you can do something, you can do something,” Koosed says.

He knows from experience.