During an interview Thursday morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe, when asked how he would respond to the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo, the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson sincerely asked, "What is Aleppo?" It is extremely easy to pile on Johnson, and many, many have. However, rather than funneling energy towards critiquing Johnson's ignorance of the refugee crisis, which does merit valid critique, why not focus instead on the ways in which we can donate towards and support the refugees in Aleppo?
A few hours after his query, Johnson released a statement to CBS News:
This morning, I began my day by setting aside any doubt that I'm human. Yes, I understand the dynamics of the Syrian conflict — I talk about them every day. But hit with 'What about Aleppo?', I immediately was thinking about an acronym, not the Syrian conflict.
Consider donating to charities that are actually helping the millions of Syrian refugees who have been displaced from their homes, instead of just ripping Johnson.
Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders is providing direct medical care in six hospitals and four health centers in Syria, while also sending medical supplies to the areas they can't physically access. While they accept a large portion of their donations online, you can also donate over the phone by calling 888-392-0392. With phone donations you are given the option to designate which specific area of aid your contribution will assist with.
UNICEF is providing food, water, clothing, and life-saving immunizations for child refugees in Syria and the bordering countries. They are also launching a Back to Learning campaign for the surrounding region and provide counseling services for children affected. You can either donate online or by calling 800-FOR-KIDS.
International Rescue Committee
International Rescue Committee (IRC) is aiding refugees in Syria and bordering countries by providing them with medical and emergency supplies. They're also providing water and sanitation services in refugee camps, and provide trauma counseling, support, and safe spaces for women and girls affected by the crisis. They receive online donations and can also be reached at 855-9RESCUE.
Islamic Relief USA
Islamic Relief USA provides aid in over 37 countries and has been providing food parcels, housing essentials (toiletries and beyond), and medical supplies for refugees displaced in Syria as well as those seeking refuge in Lebanon and Jordan. They also provide translation services, map distributions and hygiene kits for refugees fleeing across Europe including but not limited to Germany, Greece and Turkey. You can donate to their efforts online by specifying "Syrian Humanitarian Aid" on the donation page.
World Food Programme
The World Food Programme provided food to over two million refugees in Syria in the month of August alone, and only continues to multiply their efforts. They've also provided food for over 1 million Syrian refugees dispersed between the countries of Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and Turkey. Their current goal is to feed 6.5 million refugees by the end of 2016; you can help them reach their goal by leaving an online donation.
Save The Children
Save The Children has been aiding in the refugee crisis through providing refugee children with temporary school spaces, as well as child-centered spaces for play and coping. They're also providing counseling services for children and basic amenities for refugees families such as food, blankets, and clothing. They accept donations online but also can be reached at 800-728-3843 where representatives receive donations and provide donors with more detail of their aid practices.
While donating may feel like one small drop in the bucket of an overwhelming crisis, it's a lot more productive than using our collective energy to make fun of Johnson.