Small item, big impact: Carry the Future helps refugee parents

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A little more than 2,000 years ago a Middle Eastern family fled the violence that filled their hometown and threatened to claim the life of their infant son.

The story of the Holy Family's flight into Egypt resonates with many Christians today as thousands of refugees from Iraq and Syria make a dangerous, often fatal, journey from their homeland to arrive on the shores of Greece and other countries. With that story in mind, Catholic Herald staff selected Carry the Future (CTF), a new grassroots organization that assists refugee parents by collecting and distributing baby carriers, as the winner of the staff's annual "Nominate a Charity" contest.

As part of the annual contest, readers and staff send in their nominations for a charity the Catholic Herald staff can support through publicity and other means.

CTF is "just a group of people who want to help other people, especially when it comes to children. A lot of us are moms that can't imagine traveling with children in such conditions," said Brenda Figueroa-Lopez, a Washington resident and the Virginia coordinator for Carry the Future.

CTF was founded in September 2015 by Cristal Logothetis, a California resident who was moved to action after seeing the picture of Aylan Kurdi, a Syrian child, lying facedown on a Greek beach after drowning. Kurdi's situation was not unique. According to UNICEF, approximately half of the 4 million Syrian refugees are children.

After Logothetis realized that even the families who made it to Greece alive still had to walk hundreds of miles to reach their ultimate destinations, she decided to take action. A mother herself and avid babywearer, Logothetis asked her friends to donate their used baby carriers in order to help refugees safely transport their children.

The effort took off like wildfire. Within two weeks, Logothetis' effort had made the national news and her online fundraiser had reached 700 percent of her funding goal. In the D.C. metropolitan area, more than two dozen volunteers have collected more than 200 baby carriers.

Figueroa-Lopez thinks that CTF appeals to many people because it is such a useful, everyday item for many people.

"I got really attached to Carry the Future because I recently became a mom," said Figueroa-Lopez. "I have an 8-month-old at home and seeing the images of babies and kids suffering really touched my heart. I knew there was something I could do."

Stachyra Lopez, a volunteer with Carry the Future, can be reached at

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015