In Al-Maghazi, in central Gaza, people line up outside ANERA’s distribution center to receive food parcels.
Six staffers inside the warehouse help people register, double checking to make sure there are no discrepancies or duplications.
Yasser El-Sha’aer, father of six, says this is his first time receiving a food parcel. “For me, this is a lifeline. Unemployment in Gaza is so high and I have no job. I used to work in Israel,” he said. “It saddens me to feel that I am paralyzed to feed my family. My youngest child is only three months old.”
For Yasser, the olive oil is the best item for two reasons. First, it’s healthy and second, it’s unaffordable. “One liter of olive oil in the market costs 45 NIS ($13).” He says the olive oil in the food parcel usually serves as a three-month supply.
Another parcel recipient, Najia Abu Shaloof, has been living in Rafah for about 12 years. The mother of nine says the shampoo and blankets are her favorite items. “It helps meet my needs for the family. A blanket costs about 120 NIS($35), which I can’t afford,” she added.
The project is funded by USAID through the ARD program and implemented by ANERA. More than 6,000 families will benefit from the food and hygiene parcels. Some 1,200 families with pregnant or nursing mothers or with children under five years old received additional child care hygiene items. Mothers attended a health awareness session.
The parcels include a balance of essential items like olive oil, macaroni, lemon juice, blankets and shampoo. “I am also happy with the lentils, which I will cook for lentil soup and bread with lentil for my children,” she added. One kilo of lentils in the market costs about $2.50, which she says is not affordable for her family. She hopes the parcels will come more frequently to help her feed and care for her children.