Wow! What amazing fans Caitriona Balfe has! In her call to action, Caitriona asked fans to help raise awareness and financial support to help in the Syrian Refugee Crisis in Europe. Your response was both swift and in force. In just three days you’ve raised more than $10K!
We chose ShelterBox, a grass roots organization, because it works directly with relief workers on the ground helping these families that need help right now. While there are many fantastic organizations that are working to support the refugees, we wanted to support a program that would provide immediate help.
Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org) rates ShelterBox as 4/4 for value, financials, accountability and transparency. Eighty-Percent of their budget goes directly to their programs and people served–and they spend a mere three cents to raise each dollar received through fundraising.
So, what is a ShelterBox, exactly? Glad you asked! Each box is customized to the region where help is needed–but most contain similar elements. With winter on its way, the Syrian Refugees will receive specially designed winterized tents that will provide essential shelter until permanent arrangements can be made for the families currently displaced. These tents can accommodate extended families so that families can remain intact and not risk being divided into separate camps. These families have fled their homes, losing everything. They can not risk losing each other. I have been watching videos and listening to reports on National Public Radio. I was left in tears hearing the story of a young 17 year old refugee who got separated from her family and could not find her mother, two sisters and brother. I have a son not much younger than this teenaged girl–and I could only imagine how frightened I would be if my child were missing in this situation and I could was not there to look after his welfare.
The boxes also contain thermal blankets, water filtration kits, stove, fuel, cooking supplies, warm hat/gloves, activites for children, mosquito nets and tools.
We have two ways for you to donate: directly, through our team page at ShelterBox.org for fans living in the USA/Canada/United Kingdom/Mexico or through JustGiving.com where we’ve set up a donation page that will allow other international fans to donate directly to ShelterBox. Though you may donate anonymously, or withold the amount of your donation, those who contribute a minimum of $20 and share their names will be entered into raffle to receive 1st edition copies of Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager and Fiery Cross that have been generously donated from the personal collection of a member of Caitrionation. The books are signed by author Diana Gabaldon and three of them are first edition first printing (Voyager is a third printing, and personalized to “Susan.”) The raffle prize is offered to fans around he world–Caitrionation will assume the cost of shipping the books to the winner. The drawing will be held on Caitriona Balfe’s birthday, October 4th, 2015 and all donors who contribute before noon eastern time will be entered into the raffle, provided we have their full name and are able to find you via twitter or facebook. (In the event you have already donated anonymously and wish to be considered for the raffle, please contact April Steele via private email.)
We are heartened by the strong show of support from Outlander fans around the world and hope that those of you who have not yet donated will consider making a gift to the refugees supported by this organization. We understand that not everyone is in a position to donate. You can still help by sharing our campaign via social media. You can even join our team on ShelterBox and recruit support from your friends and family who may be looking for a meaningful way to contribute to these Syrian families.