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Turkish relief group to help needy in 25 countries during Ramadan

A Turkish charity association is looking to help 15,000 families in Turkey, as well as distribute food parcels in 25 countries — many under lockdown — during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Mehmet Cengiz, chairman of the Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse) Association, told Anadolu Agency that the number of people asking for aid had increased, mainly due to the pandemic and its outcomes.

He said the items requested included especially food and cleaning materials.

Based on the demand, Cengiz said, the charity concentrated on food and cleaning materials instead of providing collective iftar, or fast-breaking meal programs, noting that Deniz Feneri distributes mostly food parcels and hot meals across Turkey during the fasting month.

Also, due to coronavirus-related restrictions, collective iftar programs are not planned for Ramadan this year, he added.

Besides, the plans were canceled to host collective iftars in 20 countries across three continents on the 15th day of Ramadan to mark the Day of Orphans of the Islamic World, he said.

Ramadan aid around globe

Meanwhile, Cengiz underlined that the charity group would distribute food packages to families and Eid allowance to orphans in 20 states, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burundi, Palestine, Montenegro, Lebanon, Macedonia, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.

Also, even partially, the collective iftar programs will be organized for the needy in Burundi, Sudan, Bangladesh, Cameroon, and Yemen, while hot meals will be distributed in Palestine’s Gaza Strip and Yemen during the whole month of Ramadan.

He went on to say the food parcels and hot meals will be distributed to thousands of Syrian families in the rural area of northwestern Idlib province.

Idlib falls within a de-escalation zone forged under an agreement between Turkey and Russia. The area has been the subject of multiple cease-fire understandings, which the Assad regime and its allies have frequently violated.

The food and cleaning materials will be distributed in two camps — set up by Deniz Feneri in Syria’s Azaz region — a home for thousands of people.
Cengiz went on to say that people who want to join the aid campaign can donate 175 Turkish liras (around $21) for monthly food packages for a family of four.

He emphasized that the association also slaughters animals for religious occasions and distributes meat to the needy.

An animal can cost around 1,400 Turkish liras ($168) in Turkey and 770 Turkish liras ($92) abroad.

Eid al-Fitr festivities

During the Eid al-Fitr festivities that mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, the charity eyes to warm the cockles of 5,000 orphans’ hearts with 125 Turkish liras (around $15) pocket money, Cengiz said.

Carrying out aid projects in war-torn Syria since the country’s devastating conflict began in 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity. The charity will also distribute the allowance to 300 orphans staying with their mothers in the rural areas of Idlib, he added.

Since the bloody civil war eruption in Syria, Turkey has taken more than 3.6 million Syrians who fled their country, making it the world’s top refugee-hosting country.

Becoming a bridge between charitable people and those in need, Deniz Feneri expects to receive more donations than in previous years, the charity’s head stressed.

Tax exemption

Taxpayers can deduct the food, clothes, cleaning materials and fuel donations to Deniz Feneri from the net taxes under the “food banking” concept.

Food Banking is an initiative of the government to help thousands of food-insecure families. The law provides a 100% tax exemption to those who make donations to food banks.

Deniz Feneri also handles various Islamic donations, such as sadaqah — voluntary charity — and fidya, a donation to the poor when a fast is missed out.

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