Anca Ponea of Greece saw a Facebook post from Humans of New York in September, showing a group of refugees arriving by a boat to Lesbos. Ponea recognized the location of the photo since she lived close by. She often saw the refugees in her village and felt compelled to comment on the post.
"I feel shamed when they pass by my balcony and say hello," she commented. "I feel ashamed for being lucky to not have to go through what they went through."
On the other side of the world, in Louisiana, Marie Beechy saw Ponea's comment.
"When I saw Anca's comment, I immediately messaged her and asked if there was something I could do to help," she told Refinery 29.
Meanwhile, Laneyse Hooks of Washington, D.C. also saw Ponea's Facebook post, and the anti-Muslim comments that followed. Hooks messaged Ponea too.
"I was responding viscerally to Anca's post," she told the Washington Post. "It was hard to see people respond to her saying something so normal and human with such nastiness [and it] made me really angry."
After connecting with each other, these three strangers decided to help the homeless refugee families in Greece by donating something the children needed — strollers.
"These families are sleeping by the side of the road and in refugee camps. A stroller gives them a safe and warm place to put their children." Beechy told Refinery 29.
The three volunteers created a Facebook page to organize their charitable efforts. They recruited other people to help them in their positive mission. They also organized a massive fundraising effort.
Their original goal in the fall was to donate 10 strollers. They ended up donating 230.
Their incredible story attracted the attention of Mark Zuckerberg, who met with them a few weeks ago.
"I especially loved meeting Laneyse Hooks and Marie Beechy, who live hundreds of miles apart but came together over a Facebook post about refugee children in Greece," Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.
The three women formed a bigger nonprofit called One Refugee Child, with the goal of donating blankets and clothes to refugees in the region.
And of course, Beechy and Hooks are planning a trip to finally meet their new friend Ponea in Greece.
(H/T: Refinery 29)