26 January 2017

Buy A Spoon: Feel Good. Heartbreaking Stories.

Buy A Spoon

Feel good for as little as $7: Donate A Spoon Or Towel Or Teapot To A Refugee Family.

I buy something for the refugees every morning this week, the inauguration week for my campaign to do good every day if  can rather than argue, complain, or whine. This morning I bought a spoon for a refugee family arriving in this area today, they have absolutely nothing, and the thought of them ladling soup with this big blue spoon lit up my morning.

We have a choice, every day. What do we wish to put out there?

I heard a heartbreaking story yesterday of a Syrian family on a waiting list for the United States for two years. The family was planning to come to Boston. The mother was a trained nurse, the father a software engineer, neither has ever been involved in any kind of politics. One son by a bomb dropped over head was killed riding  his bike in the Northwestern town of Kafraya. He was six.

The father's company closed, her hospital was destroyed in the fighting and bombed. They filled out their paperwork, were exhaustively questioned by U.S. officials, and were scheduled to come to the United States this week. A church and a synagogue teamed up to raise money for the family, who had lost everything. They raised a substantial amount of money, both congregations worked closely together to welcome this family to America and safeguard their arrival and transition.

Kamal was offered a job at a tech company, Adid was going to take courses so she could be certified to work as a nurse.Their two surviving children would enter a local elementary school. They left their home, dog, lives and money behind them. They were coming with nothing, their town has been virtually destroyed by conflict and bombing. They were clinging to the idea of America, seen all over the world as a haven for the weary and oppressed, and offering a better life for their children.

They won't be coming, they couldn't get through the paperwork in time to avoid the new ban on all refugees from Syria, announced yesterday by the President. They are devastated and also desperate, their village is in ruins there is no medical care or work.

Both congregations are also in despair, they had come to know the family well, and were so ready to love and welcome them and watch over them. This is  a hard story to hear. I hope they get here one day. The church and the synagogue will continue their work together and will keep on fighting for this family to come here.

But the story doubled my resolved to help the refugees who are here, and those few that have gotten through it this week. The refugee volunteers are in a panic, desperate to help, fearful of retribution or too much publicity. It doesn't feel like America to me.

What does feel like my  America is the flood of household necessities – blankets, soap, towels, plates, teapots, silverware, strollers – pouring into the volunteer's warehouse near Albany, N.Y., courtesy of the special page put up on Amazon by the volunteers working with the U.S. Committee on Refugees and Immigrants. You have all been very generous and I thank you.

Maria and I will soon be meeting a refugee family, have also been asked to help out with a refugee art show planned for March 30 in Albany. Details to come. I am resolved to do good whenever  can, hopefully every day. I have no desire to argue my beliefs.

The refugees who are here are in  desperate need of inexpensive and everyday household items. You can see a list of these items sought on the special Amazon gift page set up for this cause. Make sure you click on the USCRI address listed at checkout in Albany, so the donations go to the warehouse and not to you. The system was working perfectly last night and this morning.

if you can write in ATTN: Jake, that would be great.

I have my eye on the design doodle shower curtain for $9.90 for Friday.  The families need everything. This is the most fun I have ever had shopping, and a way of keeping me focused and in a good place. I will be thinking of the spoon all day, whenever I hear some bad news or run into yet another angry person Got to stay grounded.

Your gifts have filled up the volunteer warehouse, the packages are going into the hallways, where there is still room. I hope we can fill these hallways soon, the gifts are being rushed out to refugee apartments as soon as they arrive.

The gifts are inexpensive, and sorely needed. The volunteers tell me again and again to imagine a group of refugees who arrive from the Middle East, unable to speak English, and with no belongings in the middle of an upstate New York winter.

By donating, you are not only helping a family, you are keeping Liberty's torch l it.

I feel great about my spoon. You can see the page here.

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