Suffolk Students Create an Earthquake Relief Effort for the People of Turkey


The SCCC Earthquake Relief Effort donation board on the Ammerman campus in the Babylon student center. (Compass News/Joseph Richuitti)

Joseph Richuitti, Sports Writer

Three massive earthquakes struck Turkey on Feb. 6, 20, and 27. These earthquakes have resulted in the deaths of over 45,000 Turkish people. The south and the southeast of Turkey are inundated with piles of rubble due to the buildings and housings collapsing and hundreds of thousands of people are under the rubble.

A lot of people that live in Turkey now have no home to go back to, no electricity and have limited amounts of food and water.

Birkan Kopuz, 34, Culinary Arts major is a student at Suffolk Community College, and he decided to try and help the people of Turkey by starting a relief effort. And the reason he wanted to do it was “because the earthquake in Turkey is one of the biggest disasters in the last century or more”.

“All the money will go towards shelter, food, education of orphaned children and infants,” said Kopuz.

Birkan Kopuz brought the idea to Debra Sullivan, the director of Rotaract Community Service Club. “She invited me to the club’s group chat and allowed me to explain the situation and what I was trying to do,” said Kopuz. 

And when he told her what he was trying to accomplish in the group chat, there were 17 people who were willing to help Birkan start the relief effort for Turkey. 

“We quickly formed another group chat called ‘SCCC Earthquake Relief Effort’,” said Kopuz. And the group decided the days they would raise money for Turkey which were Feb. 22 and 23.

Sean Handcock 19, General Studies major is one of the 17 people in the group chat who helped volunteer with the SCCC Earthquake Relief Effort.

I volunteered to sit at the Grant Campus table to help raise awareness for the earthquakes happening in Turkey,” said Handcock.