MOORESVILLE, N.C. (WJZY) – A Turkish family living in Mooresville has found their way to give back to earthquake victims in their home country.
Ceren Miedema came to America ten years ago. Her parents followed her seven years later. As they describe it, parts of their hearts are still in Turkey.
“It felt like your arms and feet are tied, but you can’t do anything about it because we can’t go there,” Miedema said.
The news of the devastating earthquakes made them feel helpless but also angry after shortcomings within the Turkish government became abundantly clear.
“We know that it’s not only a natural disaster. This happened because of the lack of precautions, lack of strict laws in the building industry, and construction industry,” she said.
Though thousands of miles away, Miedema and her family felt compelled to help. Miedema posted donation links on her social media but realized it didn’t have the necessary impact. So, she had to get creative, finding a way to appeal to her American community.
“Kids do fundraisers at schools,” she said. “They bake cookies or sell lemonade in front of their houses. What can we do to make it a similar-style American fundraiser?”
They landed on baking Bazlama, a popular Turkish flatbread. She served as the brains behind the operation, and her mother, Nejla Ocak, was the baker.
They say they sold around 1,000 pieces of bread within four days, raising about $1,300. All the proceeds will go to a non-profit organization called Bridge to Turkiye Fund. That charity is based in Chapel Hill.
In fact, the fundraiser was such a success they decided they needed to take a little break.
“[My mom] is joyfully so tired, so we are not currently baking anymore,” said Miedema.
Even with a brief baking hiatus, this family says they’ll never stop supporting their home country.