Long Islanders who have relatives in Turkey helped organize a donation collection for the victims of the earthquake.  Credit: Danielle Silverman

Last summer, one Long Island family vacationed with relatives in Adana, Turkey. Now, with 30 people in their circle missing, they are sending aid packages to survivors of Monday’s ferocious two-country earthquake. 

Allison Ocak, 44, of Dix Hills, whose husband joined his uncle on Long Island as a teen, said the family had learned one of his cousins had perished in the quake and many others are unaccounted for.

Joining forces with Liana Mavruk, 32, of Nesconset, the two already have sent two shipments by air — and are scrambling to meet a Saturday morning deadline for more donations that will be sent by ship.

Adana, a major southern Turkish city about 14 miles from the Mediterranean Sea, is one of the hard-hit areas where the chances of any more survivors being found are retreating as the death toll tops 20,000.

Both wives, native Long Islanders, happened to marry men who were born in Adana.

"The earthquake hits close to home because it is in the city my husband and his sister and brother grew up in,” Mavruk said, expressing her gratitude to all the people donating. “It is so heart-wrenching. The best we can do here is collect items that they would need at this time.”

Her husband, Emre, who was brought to the United States as a child after his mother died and was raised in Bellport, has been in touch with most of his family, who are doing all right, she said.

“They’re obviously in need of a lot of things,” she said, explaining that, for instance, an aunt and uncle have been living in their car since their building collapsed.

“That’s what’s safe for them right now.” 

The two women, along with Mavruk’s sister-in-law, Tugce Mavruk, already have collected and shipped out enough essential goods — diapers, toiletries, blankets, and new and gently used clothing, — to fill an entire box truck, a van and an SUV.

“The community here on Long Island — it just makes me very emotional, everyone has been so generous and kind, every day, just more and more people are wanting to help,” said Ocak.

Volunteers gather donations to help with relief efforts in Turkey...

Volunteers gather donations to help with relief efforts in Turkey following the earthquake, from a business in West Babylon, Thursday. Credit: Danielle Silverman

“We’ve had thousands of diapers — one box has 100 — I would say hundreds of bags of gently and lightly used and new clothing,” Ocak said.

At her children’s school, St. Patrick’s, they are organizing a fundraiser. “Every child on Tuesday will contribute two dollars to have a dress-down day,” she said.

While all the goods are being packed at Ocak’s West Babylon business Eda Designs, which creates arrangements for special events, donors can bring them to any of the two families’ businesses.

And anyone who misses the Saturday deadline can still drop off supplies as the Turkish government will arrange shipments, Ocak said.

The Mavruks own Holbrook-based Hummus Mediterranean, which has six other locations: Deer Park, Selden, Woodbury, Lindenhurst, Lynbrook and Ronkonkoma.

Th Ocaks also have two gasoline stations — one in Suffolk’s Deer Park at 1786 Deer Park Ave., and one in Nassau’s Freeport, at 300 W. Merrick Road. Eda Designs is located at 691 Route 109.

With Michelle Romano

Latest Videos

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months
ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME