Jumana Sawalha is university student and long time volunteer of SCM in Jordan. She often assists us with distributions and medical missions. With Ramadan just around the corner, she recently sent us some reflections from her volunteering experience during our Food Drive last year.
It was around this time last year. I knew that the day would be a long one. It was the blessed month “Ramadan,” families fasting, praying, and giving the less fortunate food and other goods. The purpose of fasting the whole day is to be able to sympathize with those who have nothing to eat, and being able to share what you eat with them. People would have “Eftar” at around 7 pm, so basically during Ramadan people’s days would turn around, the day becomes night and night becomes day. The reason is because people don’t eat or drink anything while fasting, and it is hot during the day.
At 7:30 pm, my dad, brothers, and I got down to the warehouse, followed a bit later by some other volunteers. We got the food boxes at around that time. Those boxes were to be given to the Syrians in need. These Syrians were told that the distribution would start at 8 pm. To our surprise when we got out to the backyard, there were around 500 people there waiting for the donations. We were told that these people had been waiting there since 2 pm. All of them were sitting with their tired faces and hungry stomachs, waiting to get some food to feed their families. They were counting on those boxes to keep them from starving. Some of them came from far villages. When they saw us, they forgot how hungry and tired from fasting and waiting they were, and became energetic. The truck that had the boxes came from backyard, the same place they were waiting. When the volunteers started unloading the boxes, the Syrians without any hesitation started helping. They all helped unload the 350 boxes into the warehouse.
Each box was enough for a family of five for a whole month. Each box had food with a value of $31. It contained frozen chicken, pasta, sugar, rice, canned tuna, canned corn, tomato paste, cheese, oil, and other essentials. A normal person would spend $30 on a meal sometimes just by going to a restaurant, others feed on this. A whole family, for a whole month!
Just thinking about this, I sometimes spend money recklessly on unnecessary stuff while a whole family lives on it for a week or month, made me appreciate all that I have. My mom has always told me to put in my plate the amount of food I know I could eat, and if I want more I can add later. After seeing this, I realized what she meant, the food that you are throwing away because you couldn’t finish, is another person’s lunch. Seeing those 500 people made me think of the others all around the world, the ones we can’t help, the ones that are far away, the ones in war, the ones in Africa. This is just so sad.
We must do something. Thanks to the ones who donated money last year, we were able to help 350 families. By just donating a little amount of money one person is helping an entire family.
When we were giving the boxes to the families, they were smiling so bright and thanking us, then running home. It would sound so easy and fast giving the food to people, but we stayed till 3 am giving the food to them. It broke my heart that we were able to help only 350 families, because there were others who didn’t take anything. I wanted to do anything to help them.
Ramadan is almost here, I hope that this year we can help more people, more families, and bring the smiles to people’s faces and joy to their hearts.
– Jumana Sawalha
We are still collecting funds for our Ramadan 2015 Food Drive. If you’d like to contribute, please click here.