“The holy month of Ramadan is a festive time for all Muslim communities in the world. But it is still a bleak time in Gaza,” says Mansour El Louh, director of Shabab Heker El Jamee Society in Deir El Balah.
“Food is definitely a symbol of hope for poor families here,” he adds. Mansour emphasizes that food is crucial for those who suffer from malnutrition.
Mansour’s organization is helping Anera provide humanitarian relief: boxes filled with basic food items that can help people in Gaza survive. The Gaza food packages include ingredients for healthy Ramadan meals, like cooking oil, sugar, tea, macaroni, lentils, tomato paste, white beans, chickpeas, white and cheddar cheese, beans, dates, jam and juice.
This Ramadan, Anera was able to distribute 200 food parcels in Deir El Balah and another 600 packages to Rafah, Khan Younis and Gaza City. The distribution was made possible by individual donations made to the #AneraFoodPackage campaign, the NOLA Muslim Community in collaboration with Masjid Omar, and funding from Zakat Foundation of America.
Food Packages are a Huge Relief for Families in Deir El Balah
In Deir El Balah, Mansour El Louh says families who lost their businesses and jobs during the 2014 war have become dependent on food assistance.” Each family has a coupon with names, an ID and a certain time to arrive at the society to receive the food package. This way we can manage the crowd of recipients,” he explains.
Families are delighted with the Gaza food packages because they consider Ramadan a month of goodness and blessings. Mansour El Louh explains, “It is a time to enjoy some basic foods that they can’t otherwise afford throughout the year.”
Fawziya El-Atar was overjoyed with her food parcel. “This donation comes as a blessing at a time when poor families like mine are in dire need of help. This package will help us to survive,” says the 48-year-old mother.
Fawziya had to abandon her home during the 2014 war and has been living with her four daughters and grandchildren in a makeshift shelter, sewing sheets together for walls and using an old table as her kitchen workplace.
“We have no fridge or stove. We basically wait for assistance from people of goodwill,” she says. Fawziya cannot work to help provide for her family because of severe arthritis and other health problems.
More Gaza Food Packages Comfort the Poor in Rafah
Farther south in Rafah, Alia Abu Hasoun helps serve the elderly during the food parcel distribution. “It is difficult for anyone who has fasted all day to see their neighbors go hungry at Iftar when we traditionally break our fast,” explains the preschool teacher who also participates in Anera’s early childhood development program.
She says poverty is widespread in Gaza so few families earn enough to be survive. “We preschool teachers only earn 200 NIS a month (less than $50), so the food package is a wonderful Ramadan gift to help cheer up our families.”
We preschool teachers only earn [less than $50 per month], so the food package is a wonderful Ramadan gift to help cheer up our families.
Young Yasser Abu Sahlhoob is also delighted with the Ramadan food package, especially the dates. The 10-year-old helps his father carry the package home.
“The rest of the family is waiting at home to see what it includes and my siblings will be excited to have something for the Suhoor breakfast.” He smiles at the thought or bringing such a gift home to his family.