SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – As of Wednesday, Feb. 8, the death toll in Turkey surpassed 11,000 people, following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck on Monday. Nationally, President Biden vowed to send US teams to support Turkish search and rescue. But here in Syracuse, there are more personal ways to support the Turkish community as it rebuilds. Enter: the CNY Rise Center.
“Our motto is, ‘we rise by lifting others’, to feel like a service organization. So we believe that in our community, the more we help one-another, it’s going to be a better place to live for us and for our next generation,” said Tim Saka, board president of the CNY Rise Center.
Rise used to be known as the Turkish Cultural Center of Syracuse, but has since expanded to accommodate people of all religions. The center serves the community by putting on numerous events that are meant to engage people mentally, and even spiritually.
“Turkish coffee nights on a regular basis to get together and discuss the local community issues. We do interfaith programs to understand one-another between different religious communities. We also have a weekend academy for our youth on Saturdays, for tutoring and to help them with classes,” said Saka.
Saka, like many that volunteer their time at the center, has family ties in Turkey. For that reason, he’s really looking forward to CNY Rise’s next event. The center is planning to hold an online prayer session that’ll also serve as a fundraiser to benefit Turkey. Aside from that though, Saka says that in times like this, it’s important to reach out to your fellow man.
“Reach out to the people you know from the Syrian community and from the Turkish community, to at least be there and give them a hand,” he said.
The prayer event is being held tonight, Feb. 9, at 6:30p.m., and will be broadcast live at risecenter.org/live.