A Glendale mother has been gathering donated baby carriers to make war refugees' journeys a little easier as they trek many miles carrying their children to safety in the Middle East.
Cristal Logothetis is a young mom from Glendale who's busy with her two year old son Leon and a family business which provides translation services.
Everything changed for her when she saw a photo of Aylan Kurdi. He was a 3-year-old Syrian boy who drowned trying to escape war. She knew she had to help.
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"It was the last straw," Logothetis said. "I decided I had to do something even if it was a small impact."
Logothetis's family had immigrated to the U.S. from Spain when she was a child. She said she was especially moved by images of mothers carrying young children in their arms as they walked hundreds of miles to safety.
"They're not traversing well-paved roads — they're coming through creeks and ravines and borders and dangerous, precarious locations," Logothetis said.
She started an online fundraising campaign and asked other moms to donate their baby carriers so she could take them to Greece to give to refugees arriving by boat.
Thousands of donations came flooding in from all over the world.
Logothetis organized a team of volunteers to help sort and pack the baby carriers.
"Most of which are moms like myself, who for years have been standing on the sidelines trying to figure out a way to help to make an impact," Logothetis said.
Many of the donated carriers come with love notes to the refugees.
"From one mother to another — peace be with you on your journey," a note read.
In October, Logothetis and her band of mothers traveled to Greece to meet the refugees when they arrived by boat.
They awaited a ferry carrying 1,400 refugees coming from the Greek island of Lesbos so they could pass the carriers out.
The volunteers wore baby carriers holding dolls to show the refugees how they work since the packs aren't generally used in the Middle East.
Due to language barriers, most of the fittings had to be done through gestures, but the message came through loud and clear: People around the world care.
"I would like to know I live in a world where if I was in their shoes somebody would care enough about me to lend me a hand," Logothetis said.
Logothetis is forming a nonprofit called carry the future. They've already distributed 7,000 baby carriers to families in need and plan to continue indefinitely.
"My message to everyone is just help out — that's all that matters," Logothetis said. "You decide how you want to do it: How to make the world a better place. Just do it."
If you'd like to volunteer or donate a baby carrier for a refugee family, visit the site. http://www.Carrythefuture.Org