Buying groceries and bringing them to Sifa was the easy part.
The hard work is in the organizing, in finding out who’s in need and what they need. Then in raising the money to get it.
Ali and Jon have become the perfect team in doing this.
Ali has been working with RISSE, the refugee and immigration service in Albany for years. He knows so many, if not all of the kids who go there after school and in the summer to learn English, help them with their school work and have a place to go when their parents are working.
He knows their families and what they need and don’t need.
Today Jon and Ali began their monthly work of bringing groceries to families who need them and I got to go with them. Jon has been raising money on his blog and The Army of Good (all his readers out there who have donated) has responded once again. They sent the money so we were able to get Sifa and her eight children the essentials, like diapers, toilet paper, toothpaste and soap. They also threw in some treats like cereal, clementines and soda.
Ali knew what Sifa needed and what they already had, so we were able to spend the money well.
Jon and Ali made a quick connection the first time they met, months ago, in the classrooms at RISSE. And since then, they’ve figured out how to most directly and efficiently help the people who go there for services.
They’ve done it with the Soccer Team and by helping Mawulidi get tools and wood so he can make his carvings and sell them.
And now there’s the monthly grocery run.
I haven’t written about the work much, but I do like being a part of it and doing what I can. I’ve been helping Mawulidi sell his beautiful carved and painted birds and took part in some of the retreats with the kids from the Soccer team at Pompanuck.
Jon had to go through a lot to figure out how to make all of this happen. If it were me, I would have given up a long time ago. I’m so glad he didn’t. And it feels so good to be able to be a part of what Jon and Ali are doing now.
It’s something I know I can help with. Something I know will make a difference. It won’t solve all the problems that arise when people come as refugees to Upstate NY, but it’s something we can do that makes a difference for as long as the groceries last.
4 thoughts on “Being A Part Of Jon and Ali’s Monthly Grocery Run”
The butterfly effect: “small causes can have larger effects”.
Helping the refugees may seem small, but…
who know what wings you gave some one.
I like that thinking Philip. Thanks….
This is wonderful! I can’t imagine how a solo woman refugee with 8 children manages to feed and care for them all. Of course every family will have their story and hardships. The Army of Good comes to the rescue again.
One tricky issue is what kinds of foods to buy them. They would do best with familiar foods that they know how to cook and that they’re used to eating. Definitely not sugared foods, junk foods, processed North American ‘convenience’ food. They come from a country with nutritious foods and excellent cuisine.
I googled what Syrians eat and what is donated to Syrian refugees by aid groups. They typically eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. Here are some examples of foods:
Fava beans, lentils, chickpeas; rice, bulgur; vegetables like eggplant, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumber, and spinach; dairy products like cheese and plain yogurt; eggs; lamb, poultry but must be halal; wheat flour for flatbread.
Donations often also include canned tuna, sardines, hummus, macaroni, tomato paste, olive oil, tea bags.
So interesting to learn what another culture eats. They would feel more at home and comforted with some of their own foods.
Luckily Ali, who started this program with Jon, knows just what Sefa and her children eat, Hannah. He’s good friends with them all, so we know what to buy for them. Ali knows all the families and what they need. It makes it easy for us.