Carlisle woman who re-settled in US leads drive to help Syrian refugees

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CARLISLE, Pa. - Syrian refugees are getting a helping hand from central Pennsylvania thanks to an effort being led by a refugee in Cumberland County.

Zuhra Korkutovic knows what it's like to have to leave your homeland and start over.

She and her family resettled in the U.S. in 2000 as a result of the ongoing conflict in Bosnia at the time.

“I was a little girl and I didn't have coats either, so it melts my heart when I see all these little coats and mittens that I know will get to somebody,” she said.

As someone who has walked in the shoes of millions of Syrians escaping the civil war, she refused to sit and do nothing half a world away. Instead, she launched a coat and blanket drive to make a difference.

“They have to start all over,” Korkutovic said. “This was such a small thing for us and I hope it's really big, makes a really big difference for them when they do get them.”

The response from central Pennsylvania has been overwhelming. Her garage is almost overflowing with coats and blankets. They collected a thousand dollar donation from the people of Lancaster and cards with well-wishes for the displaced.

“Whether it was driving the donations here, they went out of their way with phone calls and emails,” Korkutovic said. “It was really nice to see what big impact my small, little community of Carlisle can do.”

The Embrace Relief aid agency will collect the donations this weekend and take them to Turkey by ship to make a difference in the refugees' lives.

“It's even cold right now for us here, so I can't imagine little kids not having a blanket or a jacket, mittens, things we take for granted here,” she said.

If you would like to help you can call (757) 597-4721.