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Fundraising for Families Affected by Earthquakes in Turkey

AuthorRichard Zaher

When the earthquakes struck Turkey and Syria, I couldn’t sit idly by. In a spur-of-the-moment decision, I traveled to Adana and met Michael, Alper, and Mehmet – my incredible partners on this kindness journey. Together, we donated $10,000 to the people in Hatay province, distributed toys and diapers, and brought some relief to those who lost everything.

But our work is far from over, and that’s where YOU come in. Donate to our Turkey GoFundMe campaign, and we’ll DOUBLE your impact, returning to Turkey on the same mission. Check out our powerful short film documenting our journey and learn more about how you can make a difference on our GoFundMe page. Let’s be a force for good together!

Two devastating earthquakes struck Turkey and Syria on February 6, leaving a trail of destruction and heartbreak. Over 50,000 lives were lost, and millions were left without shelter, family, and even the most fundamental necessities. The devastation spanned multiple provinces, including Adana, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaras, Malatya, and Sanliurfa.

Please consider helping by going to our GoFundMe page at

Our Mission to Help People Who Lost Everything

The next day, As I watched the news coverage of the aftermath, a powerful and overwhelming urge to take action welled up inside me. The suffering on the screen was too much to bear, and I couldn’t simply be an observer this time. So, I reached out to the CEO of a major NGO that was actively working in Turkey, offering my help. Despite my efforts, I was met with silence. But I refused to be disheartened and took matters into my own hands, deciding to go there on my own, relying on the grace of God, as I always do.

And so, the following week, I arrived in Adana, a city in southern Turkey that was hit hard by the earthquakes. I had no concrete plan, only good intentions. On my first morning in Adana, God blessed me with the chance to meet Michael and Alper, two outstanding individuals who were crucial to our mission. We bonded immediately and set out to make a real difference in the lives of those affected by this tragedy in the next 10 hours. In a hotel lobby at 9 AM, we crafted a plan to travel to the Hatay province, where our help was most needed. Within an hour, we were in a car and set out on our mission. We aimed to provide $10,000 to families to assist them for the next month and let them know they were not alone.

Heartbreaking Stories

Upon our arrival in Iskenderun, we were confronted with heart-wrenching scenes. Many buildings in the city center had crumbled, and almost every household had experienced extensive damage. The stories of human loss and the struggles of those left hit us right away. As we waited for Alper’s friend Mehmet, locals approached us and shared their struggles. A woman shared with us that families with young children had been sleeping in cramped tents outdoors for weeks. In close proximity, a man recounted the heartbreaking story of losing his entire family. Although we could only offer financial assistance and a listening ear, I was grateful that we were there to help in any way we could.

Later, Mehmet introduced us to his family and neighbors. Thankfully, their houses were still standing, but the damage was so severe that it was unsafe for them to sleep there. The people echoed the same sentiment – they were still waiting for officials and NGOs to check on them and help directly. We donated 10,000 Turkish Lira to several families and extended smaller amounts to thirty more people over Iskenderun. To add to it, we distributed toys donated by my wife and the Leesburg community, and we also donated diapers.

Inspiring Moments of Hope and Resilience

Despite being warned about the potential dangers of traveling to Turkey, my personal experience was nothing but positive. I found the locals to be very welcoming, including taxi drivers, hotel employees, and even strangers on the street, all supporting our cause. In the midst of pain and sorrow, we also witnessed inspiring moments of hope and resilience. We encountered families who, despite losing everything, remained determined to rebuild their lives. We met children who, despite experiencing tragedy, still found joy in the little things. As the sound of their laughter filled the air and, for a moment, replaced the previous sadness and stillness, I felt a powerful surge of hope that this difficult time would eventually come to an end. We just need to be there for our Turkish friends until it does. I also realized that our efforts were more than just financial assistance. We were showing these people that they were not alone in their struggle and that they were not forgotten.

Yet we know that our contribution was just a drop in the ocean of the ongoing needs of this community. But it was a start. ‘Best You Best Me’ wants to continue to support the people of Turkey as they rebuild their lives and communities. So, we extend the challenge to you. Donate up to $10,000 to our GoFundMe Turkey campaign, and we will match your contribution, doubling your impact. We would then visit another city in Turkey and bring hope to more people affected by this tragedy.

Frequently Asked Questions about Our GoFundMe Fundraiser for Turkey

What happened in Turkey that prompted this fundraiser?

Turkey experienced devastating earthquakes that resulted in the loss of more than 50,000 lives and caused widespread destruction. The earthquakes also caused immense damage to buildings, and infrastructure, and left many families without access to basic necessities like food, shelter, and medical supplies. 

What is the purpose of this fundraiser?

The purpose of this fundraiser is to provide direct aid and support to families affected by the devastating earthquakes in Turkey. Our goal is to make a meaningful impact by donating funds and some supplies to help individual families in most affected areas that received little to no help and document our efforts through film, ensuring transparency and accountability.

How much have you donated to the families in Turkey so far?

Best You Best Me is humbled to have already donated $10,000 and toys to families in Turkey, with the generous support of the Paramount Business Jets Team, Richard Zaher, and the Leesburg Community. Now, we are seeking further donations from compassionate individuals like you to extend our impact and continue helping those in need.

How will the funds from my donation be utilized?

100% of your donation will go directly to the families in Turkey who have been affected by the earthquakes. We cover all other costs, including travel and film production, and even bank fees with our own funds. Your donation will be used to provide essential aid, such as food, diapers, and direct donations depending on the situation on the field.

How will you ensure transparency and accountability for the funds raised?

One way to elicit transparency is documenting the event with a  powerful short documentary,  directly showcasing how funds are utilized. Regular updates on our campaign progress and fund allocation will be provided, ensuring complete transparency.

Can I choose which city the donations will go to?

Yes, we will be selecting the next city for our aid efforts based on the comments and suggestions received on our video and a GoFundMe page. We want to engage our supporters and allow them to have a say in where the funds will be directed, ensuring that the donations are used effectively.

How can I be sure that my donation will make a difference?

Your donation, big or small, makes a difference. We go there in person, making sure, to the best of our abilities, that every dollar ends in the right hands.  Plus, we match every donation (up to $10,000), doubling the impact of your money.

What sets you apart from other NGOs and makes you stand out?

We have already donated $10,000 and are directly involved in aid efforts in Turkey. Our transparent process is documented through film. We also match donations (up to $10,000), thus doubling your impact. With a proven record of previous projects, we have been dedicated to helping communities and individuals since 2018.

How will you match donations, and what happens if the fundraising goal isn’t reached?

If we achieve our fundraising goal of $10,000 or surpass it, Richard Zaher will personally revisit Turkey to deliver aid to families in need. 

Even if our GoFundMe campaign falls short of the $10,000 goal, we remain committed to matching the total amount raised. For example, if we raise $3,000, we will still match that amount, resulting in a total of $6,000 donated to families in Turkey. In this scenario, we will work with our trusted partners in Turkey to distribute the funds instead of Richard delivering the aid personally. This ensures that your contribution still goes towards helping those in need, even if we don’t reach our initial fundraising target. 

On the other hand, if the total donation exceeds $10,000, we will still contribute $10,000. For instance, if we raise $30,000 in total donations, we will still match it with $10,000, resulting in a total of $40,000 to be donated to families in Turkey.



Richard Zaher

About the author

Honesty, hard work, and treating people well – these are cornerstones of my life and Best You Best Me foundation. I try to keep my eyes and heart open because opportunities for kindness are everywhere.

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