Turkish Society raises money for earthquake victims with food fundraiser

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Monday morning marks a full week since two powerful earthquakes hit both Turkey, and Syria killing over 25,000 people, and injuring thousands more. Since then, Rochester’s Turkish community has been busy raising money to help with earthquake relief. 

News10NBC has the details of this weekend’s fundraiser at the Turkish Society of Rochester. 

Our local Turkish community numbers over 4,500 members. The Turkish Society of Rochester says most of them are doing what they can to help out family, friends, and total strangers back home. 

RELATED: Local man from Syria awaits word from relatives affected by earthquake

RELATED: Turkish Society of Rochester to provide relief for earthquake-damaged homeland

“I would do it for any country that is involved in anything like this. It’s just a natural disaster that you know, how could you not help,” said Serap Unlu. 

The kitchen at the Turkish Society of Rochester is busy making as much food as possible this weekend in an effort to raise money for survivors of the Turkish, and Syrian earthquake. 

“Every single person here is volunteering at the moment, and all the earnings that we can make here will directly go to the earthquake. So we’re not taking any profit,” said Sami Yorulmazlar.

Yorulmazlar is a board member at the Society. He says in the first several hours about 5,000 dinner orders have already come into the kitchen. At one section of the food prep area, some ladies have been making Turkish pizzas all day. At the other side of the kitchen, a group of men are responsible for making the chicken, steak, or ground beef kebabs. 

“The people that you see here, they’ve been here at 12 p.m. or 11 a.m. and they haven’t stopped. Maybe they stopped to get a drink, but they haven’t sat down,” said Yorulmazlar. 

This weekend alone, the Society is hoping to collect $15,000 on just the food donations alone. Society President Nihat Selcuk says monetary donations have been pouring in all week. 

“I collected close to $100,000 so far at our place. Between the GoFundMe, and our place, people have been dropping money. They’re donating checks, and everything. So we’re close to $100,000 today,” said Selcuk. 

Turkish, and non-Turkish families doing what they can to donate, because they say every little bit helps. 

“That’s all we’re asking for so we can send it over there and it can help lives over there. There’s people under the rubble still and it’s cold. Kids are not being fed. So just come out, and please donate,” said Serap Unlu.

Ebru Pektas added, “This is kind of what we do. We come together anytime something happens, and we make sure all of our friends, all of our family, everyone that we love is taken care of, regardless of where we are.” 

The Turkish Society of Rochester’s Food Fundraiser continues on Sunday. Click here for more information on how you can donate.