7 January

First Day: The Refugee Food Project. Hugs And Tears.

by Jon Katz
The Do-Gooders: Photo By Maria Wulf

My father was a do-gooder, and as a reporter, I was always a little wary of do-gooders, I thought the idea was a bit sappy. I squirm a bit now to realize that I have become a do-gooder, and I love it, it is one of the most important things in my life, it means the world to me.

Today, Ali (Amjad Abdulla) and Maria and I launched a new project, the Refugee Food Project. Once a month, Ali and I will go shopping and bring food, toiletries and groceries to a refugee family in need.

Today, we were buying supplies for Siefa, a wife and mother from the Congo who spent more than 20 years in a refugee camp in Tanzania. She was fleeing the genocide there. Her first husband died in the camps, her second husband and the father of four of her eight children, was left behind in Tanzania, he is trying to get a visa to come join his family.

The government is seeking to cancel the visa program that would allow him to come here. So Siefa, who has been in the United States for eight months, is living in a small apartment in Albany with her eight children.

Ali and Maria and I bought more than $200 worth of groceries and we went to Siefa’s apartment to meet with her and her family and distribute the food and diapers and bananas and oranges and some of the other things the family .

The visit was warm and powerful and I a eager to write about it more. We will be doing this every month, as well as supporting the RISSE soccer team and the new RISSE women’s basketball team and other refugees and immigrants in need.

This was a very meaningful day and  am so grateful to Maria for sharing this and coming with me and Ali. I hope we will continue this project together, she was moved by it. Me too, I just got home and will write more later.

We will have a frigid farm to deal with.

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