Through Franciscan Relief Fund, Friars in U.S. Launch Campaign to Provide Humanitarian Aid to Earthquake-Stricken Families 5,600 Miles Away in Turkey and Syria


Franciscan friars in the U.S. are turning their attention to the humanitarian crisis in Turkey and Syria as the aftermath of one of the most cataclysmic earthquakes in history grows more dire by the day for families whose homes and belongings were destroyed, and who are sheltering in overcrowded homeless encampments that are running out of basic necessities.

Friars on the front lines in Turkey and Syria are responding to families that have turned to them for help, but their resources, like the emergency homeless shelters, are becoming scarce. For example, just in a small neighborhood in Aleppo – the city in Syria about 30 miles from the Turkish border, Franciscan friars are helping 4,000 people a day. There are tens of thousands more throughout the earthquake-stricken regions of Turkey and Syria that the friars are trying to help by providing food, water and other supplies.

These brothers in Syria and Turkey have reached out to the Order in Rome, which has been in contact with the Franciscan Friars in the U.S. Our brothers overseas are very much aware of the support of The Franciscan Relief Fund – established by Holy Name Province’s Development Office in 2020 to provide assistance to people during times of natural disaster, disease, war, poverty and unemployment. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, The Franciscan Relief Fund has raised $945 million in humanitarian aid for homeless and displaced Ukrainian families.

The Franciscan Relief Fund has now turned its focus 5,600 miles away on humanitarian aid for the tens of thousands of earthquake-stricken Turkish and Syrian citizens by launching a fundraising campaign that it hopes to at least match what has been raised for the Ukraine people. The Franciscan Relief Fund is appealing to its extensive network of supporters and is also asking the other US-6 provinces to join this effort.

“This is a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. The people in the regions of Turkey and Syria where the earthquake struck are faced with unfathomable suffering. They have lost everything. The numbers are staggering – tens of thousands of frightened, hungry and cold children, families, women, men, the elderly, sick and disabled – all in desperate need of our help,” said David Convertino, OFM, director of development.

“They are turning to the Franciscans on the ground for basic necessities – parents trying to keep their children warm and fed. Supplies are short, but demand is high. We have to help our brothers in Turkey and Syria so that they can help the people of God in their homeland,” added David.

The money raised by The Franciscan Relief Fund for humanitarian aid for Turkey and Syria will be used to purchase food, bottled water, blankets, winter clothing, medicine and medical supplies, toiletries, and anything else that is needed.

In the first year of The Franciscan Relief Fund, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the initiative provided food assistance to 5,598 laid-off workers, many undocumented, in the hospitality, service and entertainment industries who were not eligible for government assistance.

“We are deeply grateful for the generous and supportive response The Franciscan Relief Fund has received in the past. We ask that our donors and supporters again display their Franciscan Heart and give generously and with gratitude. Our supporters can give with full confidence, knowing that their donation will serve as a vital lifeline for the citizens displaced by the earthquake and the friars providing much-needed aid. Help us help the people of Syria and Turkey!” said David.

Friars of all US-6 provinces are asked to pass along the following information to anyone who they believe might consider making a donation to The Franciscan Relief Fund for earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria. Donations can be made by visiting, or by calling 212-564-8799, or by mailing a check to:

The Franciscan Relief Fund
Attn: Earthquake Relief
129 West 31st Street
New York NY 10001

All donations are 100% tax-deductible.