Auto dealers are joining the effort to provide relief to the communities affected by the deadly earthquakes this month. Many survivors of the disasters are now homeless in brutal winter weather without basic necessities.
TommyCar Auto Group in Northampton, Mass. is one local dealership collecting donations to send to Turkey and Syria.
“One of our employees, Hal, he is from Turkey and his entire family is still living there, so he was telling us his story. For days, he couldn’t get in contact with his parents and then was finally able to get in touch with them and they were living in a car and just found a place to stay now,” Carla Cosenzi, dealer principal of TommyCar Auto Group explained. “It just really hits home when it’s one of your own.”
Cosenzi said that the dealership team was heartbroken watching the devastation in the news and wanted to unite their community to help in collecting winter clothes, blankets, tents, and other necessities.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake on Feb. 6 was the strongest to hit Turkey since 1939, resulting in 38,044 deaths in Turkey and 41,732 fatalities total in both Turkey and Syria. On Feb. 20, another earthquake, measured at 6.4 magnitude, killed another three people in Turkey and injured over 350 in Turkey and Syria.
As centers of community life and commerce with accessible showrooms for collections, dealers are often the first to step up to hold donation drives.
Gary Rome, dealer principal of Gary Rome Hyundai in Holyoke, Mass., is holding donation drive at his store in partnership with the Turkish American Society.
“We were able to successfully collect a lot and raise a lot of money for Ukraine when that first came out, so we figured that with our exposure and our notoriety, we could make a difference and let people know that they can come here because we are in official drop-off spot for Turkish relief,” Rome said. “As a Hyundai dealer, I just feel very proud because Hyundai Motor America just donated $2 million to the Turkish Disaster Relief Fund, so I figured we could do our part as well.”
Rome said that their goal is to fill five Hyundai Santa Fe Cruz trucks with donations. “
If you are a dealer or know a dealer taking on initiatives to support the aid efforts in Turkey and Syria, email firstname.lastname@example.org.