Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert help raise $1 million for Syrian refugees

Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert help raise $1 million for Syrian refugeesimage

25 Dec 2015

There are still some people who believe it’s better to give than receive. And thousands of them joined together this week to raise $1 million for Syrian refugees in just 31 hours, through a donation drive arranged by five bestselling authors.

The Compassion Collective, comprised of writers Cheryl Strayed (“Wild”), Elizabeth Gilbert (“Big Magic” and “Eat, Pray, Love”), Glennon Doyle Melton (“Carry On, Warrior”), Rob Bell (“Love Wins”) and Brené Brown (“The Gifts of Imperfection”), launched a campaign this week to raise $1 million for Syrian refugees. In a little over a day, they had reached that goal.

All with donations of just $25 or less.

They crossed the $1 million mark on Dec. 21, the winter solstice.

“When the world is dark, we must be the light,” Strayed wrote on her Facebook page. “On the darkest days of the year- LIGHT WON. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

The fundraising drive began Monday and was promoted heavily on social media by the authors, using the hashtag #IStandWithLove. The maximum allowed donation was $25 because, as Strayed explained, “we [want] as many people to participate as possible.”

Within an hour, the authors raised $70,000; just nine hours later, they had collected over $300,000. They reached the $1 million goal after 31 hours.

Gilbert was ecstatic about the results. “Your brothers and sisters in distant lands cried out for light, and you brought it,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “You are the light of the world, and this is the best Christmas of my life.”

The donations raised by The Compassion Collective will be distributed through Together Rising, a charity born out of Melton’s blog, Momastery.

According to the collective’s website, the money raised will provide refugees from Syria and elsewhere crossing the Mediterranean and trying to find sanctuary in Europe with “food, shelter, warm clothing and hygiene products to give people back a measure of dignity and comfort.” It also will provide blankets, strollers, translators and medical care for those in need.

Brown, writing on Facebook, offered thanks to the donors who helped reach the fundraising goal. “Hug the person next to you. Fist bump the guy in line behind you,” she wrote. “Kiss your bus driver! You brought the light. We kicked some major …! You are my people forever! I am deeply grateful.”