Sunay Terzi and her family feel the love of their global neighbors.

Neighbors helping neighbors: Sunay’s family in Türkiye

I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. — Matthew 25:35 NRSV

On February 6, 2023, massive earthquakes struck south-central Türkiye. Another struck on February 20. Over 50,000 people died.

In the aftermath, Sunay Terzi and her family found themselves in a dire situation. Their homes were destroyed, and they were left with nothing but their cars for shelter. Imagine the fear and uncertainty they must have felt during those first few days, with no food, no water and nowhere to turn.

Eventually, the family received container homes. They were grateful for the shelter, but only one of the containers had a toilet, and four or five people needed to share each bed.

Sunay, who lost her job in a cafe after the earthquake, had hoped she would be able to find a new job once businesses began to reopen, but she soon realized that may be many months or even years away. Amid worries about the future, it was easy to get discouraged. Even surrounded by the many people in her family, it was easy to feel so alone.

But then, Sunay and her family received food and a hygiene kit. Items that reached her thanks to the kindness of global neighbors like you.

It was the first and only response to their plea for help. When staff delivered the food and hygiene kits to Sunay, she said, “God bless everyone who sent help. We are truly grateful to them.”

We are called to be instruments of God’s love, extending our hands to those who need help and embodying the spirit of compassion and solidarity. In a world often filled with tragedy and indifference, stories like Sunay’s remind us that, as neighbors, we have the capacity to change lives simply by showing up, by caring, and by sharing what we have.

The disaster response continues in Türkiye a year later. Iremgül Cansever, who delivers much-needed first-hand, says, “The hardest part of our job is definitely feeling like there are so much more needs than we can ever cover.”

Thanks to the support of kindhearted neighbors who care for their neighbors, she says, “We are able to carry out this work. Even a little makes a difference. So thank you.”