A bag of surprises can make a child’s day, all the more so if that child is a refugee fleeing the atrocities of Syria’s civil war.
On Sunday, the Golan Regional Council asked residents to prepare small bags with supplies “that would provide Syrian children with a moment of innocence and joy.”
“We would love for families in the Golan to prepare small bags for Syrian children with small toys, crayons and candies,” read the message sent by the council.
In less than 24 hours,the message went viral, not just in the Golan, but throughout Israel, and hundreds of people volunteered to bring goodie bags from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Ramat Gan and elsewhere.
“They are our neighbors. Every parent knows that a small gift can make a child smile and we want to make the Syrian children smile,” Dalia Amos, the spokesperson for the Golan Regional Council told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).
Referring to last Friday’s operation to transfer tons of food , baby formula, medical equipment, tents and clothing to Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting in the south of the country – along with a stark warning that it would not let them cross into Israel – Amos said: “The IDF is doing a great job helping the Syrian refugees, but it provides immediate needs such as medicines, clothes blankets, and tents to sleep in,; we want to send the Syrian children gifts and to remind them they are children and that children should play with toys, games and dolls.”
The initiative is is not the first organization of its kind. Gila Ron Saada, a resident of Bnei Yehuda, a moshav in the southern Golan Height, has been collecting humanitarian aid and supplies for Syrian refugees for over a year,sending the packages across the border once a week via the IDF.
“I am in contact with American volunteers who run a clinic for Syrian refugees on the border. They tell me which supplies the refugees need most and I send out the requests through my Facebook page,” she tells TPS. “Sometimes the refugees need more toys, sometimes clothes or shoes, it depends on the weather. We send a lot of clothes for kids; I guess (there are a lot of) Syrian children wearing t-Shirts with Hebrew letters now.”