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week, my almost-4-year-old and I dropped our car off at a neighborhood auto
shop for an oil change. We were walking the one block home, and it was very
windy. "It's going to take us forever
to get back!" she shouted into the wintry Chicago air. Of course, she dawdled a
bit and I had to continually nudge her to keep walking; eventually, I picked
her up and she nuzzled her head into my warm shoulder for the rest of the trip.
We were home in less than three minutes.
thought of that trip when a friend told me about a nonprofit she'd learned
about on the "Today" show. Carry the Future was
founded by California mom Cristal Logothetis after she saw that soul-crushing
photo of Aylan Kurdi, the 3-year-old Syrian boy who
drowned as his family attempted to seek refuge in Greece.
"When I saw that picture, I
didn't just see a little boy facedown on the sand," Logothetis told "Today." "I saw what could have been my son."
Carry the Future's mission is "to provide relief to refugee
families while they are on their journeys to asylum." The organization
specializes in hand-delivering baby carriers to fleeing families with infants
and toddlers, then outfitting them and teaching them how to use them. These are
parents who are carrying their childrenhundreds
of miles as they try to escape war and find a safer, more peaceful future
for their families. Their kids don't have the luxury of dawdling or of
complaining about wind. These parents don't have strollers to make things
easier. And baby carriers are basically foreign to them.
The thought that (baby carriers) might bring a bit of reprieve to a parent in need is helping to fill the emptiness I feel in my gut every time I hear about their pain.
Logothetis, whose little boy is 2, travels
to Greece—one of the easiest and most preferred entry points into Europe and seeing thousands of new refugees every day—with donated carriers
from all over the country. These carriers represent hope, giving, support. Soon,
she will have one of mine; I just mailed it off, along with two more from
Included in our package was a note that reads:
Stay strong! We are
thinking of you and your beautiful families and sending you love from America.
These carriers have been used to carry our children and we are honored that
they now get to cradle yours.
(I was able to have the note translated from English to Arabic
by a young classical musician whom I recently interviewed. She was able to
leave Syria in 2013 and now resides in Chicago.)
So often, gut-wrenching global tragedies like Sandy Hook and 9/11 leave us feeling powerless. For me, sending my carrier gave me the tiniest
ounce of relief. The thought that it might bring a bit of reprieve to a parent
in need is helping to fill the emptiness I feel in my gut every time I hear
about their pain. As one of Carry the Future's volunteers recently wrote on her
Facebook page, along with a mother she'd
just fitted with a carrier: "This is not an Afghan
mom, a Syrian mom, a Greek mom or an Iraqi mom. This is a human mom."
If you want to donate your gently used carrier, send it to:
can also help by providing "relief packs" for children (items
such as non-perishable protein snacks, Halal beef jerky, waterproof solar
blankets, diapers and wipes, socks, vitamins, baby food, hand sanitizer,
protein bars, emergency sleeping bags, non-battery flashlights, and more) by donating
to Carry the Future.