Olivia and I participated in a fundraiser for Syrian Refugees. My friend, yoga teacher, and fellow Essential Oil user is from Syria. She has helped bring home the difficult situation of the Syrian Refugees and their needs. Sources vary, but it there are about 4.6 million refugees. There home is not what it was and will not likely be rebuilt in the near future. Although I know that is what most displaced Syrians want--to go back home and rebuild Syria. The Syrian conflict has brought so much violence and has collapsed the infrastructure of the country. So many deaths and so many needs. It breaks my heart. Most of the refugees have remained in the Middle East, living in near by countries or refugee camps, some have been resettled in Europe, and very few in the United States. A few months ago we donated coats and blankets toward an organization that was shipping them over to one of the Refugee Camps. In our area, Church World Services is the organization that helps to settle refugee families in our area. Mona found the book Soup for Syria last year. It, in itself, is a fundraiser in that the proceeds go toward food relief efforts by the United Nations. It was suggested to hold a local soup fundraiser and Mona got to work. Olivia and I joined forces in helping to hang up flyers, cook the soup and cookies, and attend this event to raise funds for the local Church World Services and the 2 upcoming Syrian families to be resettled in our area.
Olivia and Mona
Olivia and I spent all day the day before the event cooking soup. There were 4 soups: Pumpkin with Cardamom, Chicken Freekah, Zucchini Beef with Mint, and Lentil with Swiss Chard. They all had lemon and turmeric in the recipes as that made these Middle Eastern recipes specifically Syrian. Olivia was such a trooper. I had encouraged her to help where she could but to bring a book in case she wanted a break or there wasn't something for her to do. But she labeled containers, opened/held doors, kept up with Mona's phone, and many more things. Originally we were only supposed to help for half the day but Olivia wanted so much to stay and keep helping that we did. That pan of onions was one of 4 that I cooked. :) And I that is 56 pounds of zucchini there.
Quarts and Quarts of Soup
Some of the soup was presold for people to take home. There was also a sit down dinner where you could have a bowl of soup, bread from Nazareth Bread Company, Orange Blossom Water, and a Syrian cookie.
Mamoul and Ghrebe cookies. These are delicious. The dough is made in steps. And that "spoon" you see is a mold. It was hand carved and it is beautiful! There was a second one that has been in Mona's family for a 100 years. I didn't catch a picture of that one. But these are so cool. You fill them with the mixture and then *whack* the cookies out. They are typically filled with a date paste or nuts.
Isn't the pattern on from the mold beautiful?
Over $4000 dollars was raised and much awareness. Later that week Olivia and I went to a showing of Salam Neighbor. It is a documentary filmed in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. It left me just heartbroken. Olivia and I had some great discussions and I know that she knows that she is blessed with much and that there are others who do not have as much. We must pray for the conflict to end and for these precious people to go home and rebuild their country. In the meantime, if we can support the efforts to help meet their basic needs and for the children receive education, we should. For the ones that want to and are able to resettle here, we should help. These are our neighbors. They may seem so far away...but they aren't. God calls us to love our neighbor. He calls us to give. His heart is for justice and mercy. I will continue to pray for God's will to be done and for the hearts of mankind to be drawn to him. I am so thankful for a way to help with my hands.