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Holiday Food Distribution for Afghan Refugee Families

One of the great things about being a part of our community is that we all show up for each other in times of joy and need. This holiday weekend, while many were gathered with family and friends, we also thought very seriously about our new neighbors who recently arrived from Afghanistan.

Every weekend our staff is contacted by refugees with concerns about not enough food to eat. This can be due to not yet understanding public transportation and how to properly navigate the grocery stores. For large families, this can be especially worrisome.

Our staff has been working on weekends to make sure these needs are met. For our staff to enjoy the Christmas holiday, we decided to contract Salem Market & Grill to prepare enough food for each family to last the whole weekend (each person was given lunch and dinner for Friday, Saturday and Sunday – 6 meals). That’s 846 meals for 141 refugees!

On Thursday, December 23rd, Salem spent the day organizing food into boxes for each family based on how many people per household, and labeled them with names so that there were no mix-ups during pickup the following day. Fruit, vegetables – everything was carefully refrigerated throughout the night. Then our Refugee Department supplied our CEO Dr. Jordan Golin with a spreadsheet that had everyones address and contact information.

The JCC Center for Loving Kindness UPstander community, Jewish Federation and Repair the World Pittsburgh all recruited volunteers, and all 35 of them quickly went to work distributing the food across Pittsburgh. From 9-11am they arrived at Salems and loaded up their trunks, got the addresses and headed to deliver food to the refugee families.

We have 17 families who are staying at a hotel, so Jordan and Salem loaded up the Salem truck and distributed food in the hotel lobby.

This was such a wonderful and much needed event, and we could not have accomplished so much without the help of our partners and volunteers!