Sometimes an organization is formed for a specific purpose, yet finds real strength in another, parallel purpose whose goals are not financial but humanitarian. Such is the case with TTC (TOBB Trade Center, Franklin Park, IL), a Turkish organization formed to serve as a U.S. “home” for Turkish manufacturers of many stripes, from the fabricating and machining and metal that we speak of daily, to concrete products, home products—a multitude of offerings.
But home means something else entirely in the light of recent news. The tragic earthquake that so affected large swaths of Turkey and Syria has left many survivors wanting—they are without homes, without property, without the things we take for granted every single day. And so people have banded together to collect those essential items, stage them, and ship them. TTC has been the home for this humanitarian activity. Everyone from Turkish businesses to an Albanian business group have donated supplies.
TTC is a good choice for a rendezvous point for materials. It stocks product for its 63 member companies in an 80,000 sq. ft. warehousing facility that sits a few hundred yards south of the southernmost O’Hare runway, and not even 100 yards north of one of the largest railroad yards in the Chicago area. Additionally, routes 90 and 294 abut the airport property, and other routes like 355 and 290 are mere minutes away. One would find it difficult to place a warehouse in a better spot.
Barlas Bildir (left in photo above), Executive Vice President of TTC, notes, “We have had such a great response to the disaster relief effort. Everyone here, especially our CEO, Atakan Arica (right in photo above), has delivered their full support to this effort. And we have so much support from businesses, and the Turkish community, including the Consul General Engin Türesin in Chicago.” Bildir states that TTC and the relief effort also has gained much from Turkish Airlines, which has donated significant portions of its cargo capacity to the TTC effort.
“We have had more support than we could have hoped for,” Bildir continues. “In fact, we had many people just showing up here at our location ready to work. We were overloaded with people.” So much, in fact, that TTC was asked to turn away any further help from people just showing up at the front door. The Turkish Consulate then became a clearing house of approvals and information on volunteers, helping TTC manage the process. (If you would like to become a volunteer, you may call the Turkish Consulate office in Chicago at +1 312 263 0644.)
Bildir says he was surprised when he met a man at the front door. “He said, ‘I’ve driven all the way from Nebraska to help,’” recalls Bildir. “I had to ask him to go through the Turkish Consulate for approval to volunteer but of course I thanked him very much for driving all that way.”
Inside the warehouse, pallets full of supplies of day to day life were stored between the industrial shelving units already full from customer products. Man and woman power are combined with forklifts and trucks to get the supplies to the airport, a train yard, or via truck to another location. Some volunteers run software to manage the unexpectedly busy process—including tracking and inventory.
TTC is not set up to take individually wrapped items; it is coordinating large donations with pallets of items. To do so, contact the organization nearest you; some locations are listed below.
Chicago Consulate General
455 N Cityfront Plaza Dr, Suite 2900, Chicago, IL 60611
3845 N Harlem Ave, Chicago, IL 60634
7450 Skokie Blvd, Skokie, IL 60077
Boston Consulate General
31 Saint James Ave. Boston, MA 02116
325 Rivers Edge Dr, Medford, MA 02155
Houston Consulate General
5333 Westheimer Road Suite 1050 Houston, TX 77056
they can deliver until 21:00 every day.
3170 De La Cruz Blvd #119, Santa Clara, CA 95054
Miami Consulate General
80 SW 8th St #2700, Miami, FL 33130
821 UN Plaza, First Avenue, New York, NY, 10017
they can deliver until 21:00 every day.
2525 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008