Turkey Earthquake Operation Update

July 10th, 2023

Captain Zeki Kamsu

747 Captain Zeki Kamsu has wrapped up our final purchases in Turkey for the children and their families we have been helping. Zeki has spent months and tens of thousands of dollars of his own money helping the victims of this earthquake. BP4K is so grateful for a person like Zeki who has a heart of gold and compassion for our mission. Without him, our mission would not have succeeded. If there was ever a humanitarian hero among us, it is Zeki.

The Operation

Both Bill and Cassandra paid for their own airline tickets to Turkey, visas, meals, and hotels. Not one dime of the money you donated went to cover any BP4K expenses. Promises made, promises kept.

We purchased stoves, refrigerators, kitchen equipment for over 120 families in remote villages. We bought 700 pairs of shoes. We purchased toys for an orphanage, we fixed windows and stairwells. And we did it with the funds you gave us.

These photos tell the story…

Click on the image to see the gallery
Thank You

Thank you to everyone who donated and supported our effort. Our plan is to return in September and pass out 500 backpacks to children returning to school.

Grateful to you all, without you, we could not do this work.

WIlliam ‘Stevie Ray’ Vaughan
Founder, Executive Director BP4K

Get Your BP4K Raffle Tickets!!

What could be more fun than taking a ride with a family member or friend in the iconic Ford Tri-Motor?… Riding for twenty Dollars!

Thanks to the EAA, our new sponsor and parter, now is your chance to help support Operation BackPck4Kids when you purchase a twenty dollar raffle ticket for a chance to win two rides in the Tri-Motor at this years EAA Air Venture.

Only 500 raffle tickets will be sold, and the lucky winner will be announced July 21st.

Not attending Oshkosh this year? Well how cool would it be to win the raffle and give 2 kids visiting Oshkosh a chance to ride on your behalf. BP4K will at Oshkosh everyday from sunup to sundown and we will guarantee that the tickets will go to worthy kids visiting Oshkosh who would otherwise not have a chance to ride. We’ll even get their picture taken.


[Operation BackPack4Kids (BP4K) is a registered 501c3 charity in Louisville KY dedicated to helping displaced children throughout the world by providing a backpack with essential humanitarian items they need. A small act, with a big impact.]

Two sisters, with no last name…

Gaziantep, Turkey:

Cassandra Z with the two sisters in Gaziantep, Turkey..

All that is known about the girls (pictured above) were a few comments made by a woman who was by the ambulance when the girls were loaded up and rushed to a hospital. “They’re Syrian sisters, I don’t see the parents”.

February, 2023

Turkish rescue workers can only assume that the parents of these little girls threw them out of their window moments before the earthquake took down their building, killing the mother and father. The girls were found laying in the rubble, badly injured and bleeding. The oldest girl, approximately eight years old, has undergone two surgeries to her skull to reconstruct it. The orphanage housing these sisters has no information about them. They don’t have a passport, a birth certificate, a phone, or even a photo of their parents. Together with another 48 children in the orphanage, they are waiting to see what happens next in their life.


BP4K exists for one purpose… to help displaced children who need love and protection. Wherever we find a need we can meet, or help with, we do it. Sex, color, religion, nationality , handicap… none these things matter to our calling, and they never will. Children are the innocence of the human race, and the future of us all at the same time. You gave almost $30,000 for the earthquake victims and we are proud to say we are keeping our promise to spend every penny directly in Turkey helping the children and their families when, where, and how we can.

Thank you for your support, without it, we would not be here.


Special Update!

25th April, 2023

Backpack4kids is pleased to announce that we have secured the necessary permissions to enter the relief camp near Gaziantep Turkey.

BP4K Team members are currently in route to disperse $26,000 in funds provided through donations made by you to our special Turkish earthquake response.


Following the devastating earthquakes on February 6th, 2023, BP4K was able to send 265 backpacks to Turkey through our partnership with the UPS foundation. However, the Turkish government has otherwise maintained a complete lockdown of the affected areas for the safety and security of those involved. Non-Government-Organizations like ourselves have only recently been able to gain access.

UNICEF reports that there are over 850,00 children displaced in Turkey and Syria by the earthquakes. There are approximately 7,000 displaced children in the relief camp BP4K will be operating out of.


Backpack4Kids will be in the area near Gazniantep, Turkey for the next few days. As promised, 100% of the money raised will be spent on the victims of this tragic event, ideally on school supplies, hygienic items, etc., for children; note: our volunteers travel on their own expense. BP4K will also assess the possibility of future involvement and operations.

Later this week…

We will be posting updates from the team on the ground in Turkey. You can follow us by subscribing to our website or by following BP4K on Facebook, Twitter, and instagram.

Twitter = @opbackpack4kids

BP4K’s 1st US Volunteer Build A Backpack Day

BP4K’s launches US operations:

On Saturday, March 4th, 2023, BP4K hosted a “Build-a-backpack-day,” at our new Louisville Operations center located at Bowman Airfield in Louisville KY. Over 600 backpacks were built in a little over 3 hours. A very special thanks to you for your donations and to our volunteers who got it all done. All of you made this possible!


BP4K sends 265 backpacks to Turkey via the UPS foundation

Thanks to the UPS Foundation:

On February 16th, 2023, we shipped 265 of your backpacks to the disaster area. Additionally we have raised over 20k for relief efforts. We would like to thank the @UPSFoundation for providing space on their recent aid relief flight to Turkey for our backpacks.

What happens to the bags?

Together with the Turkish AFAD we have been assured our backpacks will be distributed as promised. Any donations BP4K receive intended for Turkish relief will be distributed to displaced Turkish children either in the form of our lovingly-hand filled and sorted backpacks or other much needed items.

Stay Tuned for more….

You can donate here… https://backpack4kids.org/donations/turkish-and-syrian-earthquake-2023/

BP4K is now an American Red Cross Partner!


Hard work and staying focused pays off….

On behalf of the Trustees, it is a pleasure to announce Operation BackPack4Kids is now an American Red Cross partner. This partnership will allow BP4K access to the Red Cross emergency services network so that we can asses emergencies and disasters throughout North America and respond when we can.

This past week was move in week at Bowman Field!

BP4K is setting up shop and we are moving fast! Thanks to Jeff Fondy, our Director of Logistics, we have secured a climate controlled storage unit and operations room at Bowman Field Airport in Louisville, Kentucky. UPS Captain Jeff Daus offered this space in the War Birds Hanger located at the base of the ATC tower so that we could launch our efforts right here at home. We have purchased over 600 backpacks and are assembling 200 of them for immediate distribution when the time comes.

Bill and Stacie unloading the 600 backpacks.
Backpacks and more Backpacks

Stacie and Cassandra working hard to organize our new storage facility.
Jeff and Cassandra, making it happen!

How you fit into the puzzle…

From the moment BP4K launched almost one year ago, it required the support of many. You made it happen, and only you can continue the mission. Through the generosity of IPA pilots, the IPA Foundation, the UPS Benevity Cause, ALPA, ALPA pilots, and corporate donors, we are doing exactly what we said we would. Now we are going to do it at home. And we need volunteers. We need Moms and Dads, teenage kids, groups like the Boys and Girls Scouts, the Civil Air Patrol, church groups, you name it! We need people who are willing to assemble the packs, load the truck, drive the truck…

Feeling called to help? Awesome…. Contact Capt Tom Livesey volunteer@backpack4kids.onmicrosoft.com, our volunteer coordinator and let him know!

In Closing:

It was a hard and very long year. No one thought the conflict in the Ukraine would drag out like it has. Children all over Eastern Europe have had their lives completely turned upside down. It has been hard to watch. But because of people with caring hearts, we handed out over 4,000 backpacks, bought 4 generators, 2 medical transport coolers, a BabyPod, and thousands of dollars of clothing for mothers and children. We also provided funds for the transportation of 12,000lbs of food and baby supplies to the Ukraine and Poland. In the middle of it all, true leadership rose to the top and people with the skills needed to navigate a non profit start up… did just that. Operation BackPack4Kids is a vetted and trusted Nonprofit 501c3 corporation. The Board of Trustees and Advisors have done nothing short of a miracle, and for that we should thank them every chance possible.

Thank you everyone for all that you have done, and hopefully will continue to do. We are making a direct impact on the lives of children… one backpack at a time.


William Vaughan
Founder, Executive Director

BP4K Moves forward…

A child receives a BP4K backpack earlier this year.

8 December, 2022

1. Our sincere apologies for such a huge gap between updates. We have been working everyday to transition BP4K to a long term nonprofit corporation. With that comes a huge learning curve, as our leadership works for free, and in most all cases learning as we go!

2. We have officially moved out of Studio 7 in the Marriott, Cologne (Germany). Three big reasons why: We ran out of space, we partnered with Blue and Yellow Crosses, and refugees are not utilizing the facility at the train station in large numbers. The hotel gave us a miracle over the past year, and without them, this project would have faltered most likely. For those who get to the CGN Marriott from time to time, please consider bringing a bag of chocolates or a speciality treat when you visit and tell the hotel staff thank you for what they did.

Bill V. Closing out our Studio 7 at the Cologne Marriott Hotel.

3. We are setting up our new operations in the BGK warehouse located about 15 mins from the Marriott. This warehouse is shared by 4 NGOs and we will have 24/7 access. Our plan is to have a build date every 6 weeks on a Saturday. Those wishing to help will go over to the warehouse and spend a few hours stuffing backpacks.

747 First Officer Mark E. helps unpack our supplies at the BGK Warehouse.

4. In Ukraine, the lights are off in many of the orphanages in safe-houses that we have provided backpacks too. Children should not be afraid of the dark so in true BP4K fashion, we purchased portable generators and they are in route as we speak (photos to follow soon).

5. MD11 FO Jeff F. (Director of Logistics) has secured climate controlled storage space at Bowman Field Airport in Louisville, Kentucky. Soon we will be stocking that facility with backpacks ready to go when the call comes in! We are very excited to launch our mission right here in America.


6. Until our next update, please consider giving to your charity, BP4K. That’s right, it belongs to you when you give. You will not find a more transparent group of IPA pilots who have worked thousands of free hours to help children in need. To this day, we still talk to people who have no clue what Operation BackPack4Kids is. Our mission has been a huge success by staying focused, not overreaching or making promises we can’t keep, and staying out of the politics. Our focus was, is, and always will be helping children who are down on their luck, no matter where in the world they are.

~On behalf of Bill, the Board of Trustees, and all the volunteers who are making it happen… We hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday season. 

(PS… we have handed out over 4,000 backpacks! 



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