Community

Serving tea and sandwiches mid-day in her home draped with prismatic rugs from every corner around the planet, Gray Henry is focused on more banal items.

Henry wants your shoes, jackets, shampoo, diapers and anything else you can send.

About 5,000 miles away, more than 60,000 Syrian refugees are packed into camps — including tents and warehouses — in Greece. Sub-freezing temperatures this winter have made their plight more difficult.

They also won’t have a chance to be resettled in the United States any time soon. Originally suspending Syrian refugees indefinitely, President Donald Trump signed an updated travel ban this week that blocks Syrian refugees from entering the country for 120 days.

Approximately 3 million refugees have been resettled in the U.S. since 1980.

“We’re all watching this and thinking, ‘what could we do?’ And then you start thinking, ‘if I send money, will it reach them?'” Henry says.

Henry and others want to make sure refugees still get tangible help from the United States. She’s is on the board of the Center for Interfaith Relations and is one of the forces behind the clothing drive by Love From Louisville, a coalition of groups and citizens in the area that want to donate items to Greece.

She’s calling on the city to show its empathy on a global scale.

“Louisville has a chance — it’s a compassionate city,” she says. “It does a lot.  But let us be a model global city, so other cities in America can follow our plan.”

Louisvillians have until March 22 to get donations to their nearest firehouse. Henry’s goal is to get at least 2,000 boxes of relief items to Greece. But even that won’t be enough.

“It’s a drop in the bucket,” Henry acknowledges. “But as a human being, it’s doing what we can.”

Roxanne Scott covers the economy for WFPL News.