Ahmed Zoerob, a Gaza farmer, walks along a rutted road to a compound of tiny, prefab housing units that serve as temporary shelters for hundreds of families displaced by the 2014 war.
He carries a box that says “From Poor Farmer to Poor Family” and it is full of beautiful, fresh produce from his farm.
Ahmed is one of 120 farmers in the Khan Younis area of Gaza participating in Anera’s family farm restoration project, which is helping to bring war-damaged farms back to life. This is the farmers’ first full harvest after the war and it is bountiful for many of them. They are grateful for their good fortune and, though living very humbly themselves, the farmers know that things could be much worse. So they decided to pay it forward by providing some relief for Gaza families who have been less fortunate.
“We want to say thank you for what we have and share it – even if it’s not a lot – with families whose homes were destroyed during the  war,” says Ahmed. He and his fellow farmers are aware that families and others left homeless by the war are grappling with another harsh winter in flimsy shelters.
Together with Anera’s local program partner, Al Quds Society of Mawasi Development, the farmers came up with the idea of sharing their produce. So far, they have distributed more than 300 boxes of fresh vegetables harvested from their fields.
Even as Gaza farmers harvest their crops, they are finding ways to help those in need in their communities, “It is a truly rewarding project for all of us,” says farmer Ahmed who lives in the southern Gaza area of Khan Younis.
Winter is Hardest for Gaza Displaced Families
Amina Sumiri, husband Ayman and their four children have been living in a makeshift refuge since their home in Khan Younis was destroyed in the war. More than a year later, there is still no compensation or reconstruction in sight. Like so many others, they do not have the resources or materials to rebuild their home.
“We often light fires to feel warm and to cook but winter storms make it so difficult for us,” Amina says. She explains they need everything, from a hot meal to feed the family to blankets, mattresses and clothing to stay warm, not to mention a closet to store the few things they managed to salvage from the wreckage of their home. “This fresh food is a wonderful gift,” says Amina.
Farmer Ahmed says providing some healthy food is the least he and others can do to help their neighbors survive and endure. “Today, we can help a family cook some healthy, hot meals. This is what I can offer and I know others will do the same. Sharing with others is what it’s all about.”