image for 12.18 blog post - Abdul and Noor - credit World VisionEver since the media started reporting the Syrian refugee crisis, the relentless and desperate images of families leaving their beloved homes and country behind have provoked anger, sadness, and dread in many of us watching from a distance. When I received an email update from World Vision a few months ago about these innocent people caught in the crossfire, the words pierced me profoundly and deeply.

The subject line read, “From Serbia – Syrian refugees on the move need your help.” The message described the plight of a Syrian family. A mother and father decided to sell everything and flee the war. With their young children, Abdul and Noor (pictured above), they’d slept two nights on the ground near Serbia’s border with Hungary. Their hearts were broken when the border closed before they could cross. I could not imagine walking even one footstep of their treacherous journey.

As a fundraiser, I’ve witnessed many charities effectively managing disasters and making a positive difference. With this one so globally massive and horrific, I found myself questioning what could ever be done to make a big enough impact to change the plight of men, women, and children affected by war and inhumanity.

The last paragraph of that email ended with an appeal for gifts in kind: “Having left so much behind, refugees lack the most basic things — food, clean water, and hygiene supplies. And as the nights get colder, blankets, jackets, and sturdy shoes will be essential. You can help provide these items for refugee children and their families.

Moved by this compelling plea, I realized at that moment there could be a way to deliver some vital aid, protection, and solace for the refugees. With the support of our philanthropic Innovairre team, we were able to offer a donation of 5,000 fleece blankets that were accepted by World Vision after their careful due diligence and evaluation.

Guided by Angela Appleton, World Vision’s Director of Corporate Engagement, we shipped the blankets to Armenia where they could be distributed to refugees as they waited at the border. We hope the blankets will bring some measure of comfort and touch the hearts of these brave, determined, inspiring people who have lost almost everything…yet still hold onto their hope and will for survival. As Angela told us, “Winter is fast approaching for these families who literally have only the clothes on their backs.”

I share this not to garner praise for our donation, but to illustrate that even we who work every day to communicate the needs and help promote the noble causes of nonprofits all over the world are touched when we read a personal story, and gratified to be able to help in any way.

We commend World Vision for their dedication to serve all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender, in nearly 100 countries. World Vision is committed to working in the most broken places to protect the most vulnerable people on earth. Refugee families are still struggling and need support to endure their hardships. For ways you can help, read more here.

Truly, there is power in numbers! Innovairrians are dedicated to come together and speak with our hearts and hands to support charities and causes we cherish, as one way of fulfilling our mission to “innovate for good.” We are honored and committed to assist nonprofits around the world with various fundraising efforts that make their vital and life-saving work possible.

Photos copyright World Vision; used with permission.

Stephanie Wilcox is Fundraising Director at Innovairre Communications, which supports more than 500 nonprofit organizations around the world. Contact us at; subscribe to our newsletter here; and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.