Public interest in an aid campaign by the Turkish Red Crescent, the country's leading charity, is high ahead of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim feast of sacrifice, which is traditionally an occasion for helping the poor. The "Let eid prosperity last throughout the year" campaign asked the public to donate money equaling the price of animals suitable for Muslim sacrifice rituals such as sheep and cows. The sacrificed animals will end up as canned meat and the Red Crescent plans on sending them to impoverished families year round.
Some 650,000 households in Turkey and nearly two million people in 32 countries will benefit from canned meat donations.
The charity also delivers gifts to children in disadvantaged communities. Most recently, children in war-torn Syria and children in Albania received new clothes and toys on the occasion. Children traditionally wear brand new clothes, called "bayramlık" in Turkish, during the Muslim festivals of Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr.
Red Crescent authorities announced that 100,000 eid donations, cash donations between TL 500 ($150) and TL 735, were received up until three days before the festival that will be marked on Friday in Turkey and officials say they expect more donations.
Canned meat and other humanitarian aid will be delivered to the poor families from Bosnia Herzegovina to Bangladesh.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and other prominent figures were among the donors of the campaign.
Other Turkish non-profit organizations are also holding aid campaigns for Eid al-Adha. Charities give priority to the slaughter of animals - sheep, cows, camels etc. - whose meat will be delivered to impoverished families. The organizations have set up slaughterhouses and humanitarian aid distribution points in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
For instance, the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH) will reach out to about 2 million people in need in 106 countries.
Sadakataşı charity will conduct a humanitarian aid campaign in 27 countries spanning from the Balkans to Central Asia.
Meanwhile, İyilikder charity pursues a different aid campaign by donating goats to poor farmers to raise for its milk.
The Red Crescent also delivered food aid to Yemen yesterday as the country grapples with an ongoing war. 750 tons of flour dispatched by the charity is being distributed to about 30,000 families in the country. It follows the first batch of aid, 1,250 tons of flour, delivered to the families in need in western Yemen last week.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Red Crescent President Kerem Kınık said they prioritized countries suffering from armed conflicts and hunger while choosing countries to distribute the aid and the charity was praised for its global outreach.
He said their year-round aid projects concentrated in East Africa, South Sudan and Yemen in the past two years. Kınık says the meat aid was significant, as most aid recipients can "eat meat only during eid."
Yesterday, İlhami Yıldırım, the head of the Red Crescent's Istanbul branch, was in Albania for an aid campaign held for 3,141 orphans. The children were given eid packages that had items from shoes to dresses and shirts. The gifts sent by Turkish donors were handed out to the orphans and impoverished families in a sports hall in Tirana.
Yıldırım said it was a joint campaign held with the Albanian charity Alsar Foundation. He said apart from clothes, they will distribute meat to 12,000 families in Albania during the Muslim festival.