The war in Syria continues, but so does your love. This month, you and I celebrate our one-year anniversary of showing up for hungry Syrians with hot meals!
If it’s Monday, the ladies who work in our emergency kitchens are cooking some version of bulgur, with potatoes and cabbage salad. If it’s Friday, then they’re cooking rice and beans, with a cabbage salad. Just like you might cycle through family favourites when planning meals at your house, the staff of these kitchens in Syria have a rhythm to their cooking too.
They have to, really. These two kitchens you created in Syria—in a part of the country around Aleppo where war has flattened whole communities—take 15 tons of raw ingredients and transform it into 40 tons of cooked meals every week.
Each morning, Sunday to Thursday, steam rises from vast pots, as ingredients become delicious, comforting, scratch-cooked food. These hot meals are then distributed in villages around Aleppo, to those who wouldn’t be able to eat otherwise—they have neither food, nor any means to cook.
Kitchen workers cook through the morning, until noon. When the meals are ready for distribution, the men on the team take over. They load massive pots into pickup trucks, and head out into the Aleppo countryside for delivery while the cooks clean up from the morning’s work. The pots are so big, the ladies crawl inside to make sure every square inch is scrubbed clean.
These teams of kitchen and delivery workers—whose own lives were destroyed by war, but who now have jobs and the ability to take care of their families—will serve hundreds of thousands of meals this month alone.
The advance teams who visit local families to determine need, as well as the delivery teams who dish out hearty grains with meat sauces and crisp salads each day—they hear heartbreaking stories.
They told us recently about a family receiving food, who used to work in agriculture before war tore everything apart. The breadwinner of the family died during the war, leaving the rest of them with no source of income. The family had to live all together in a single room. “The house became empty of children’s laughter,” they told us. The mother is unable to provide food for her children; neither is their elderly grandmother. Because of prolonged malnutrition, the children now suffer from preventable diseases on top of trauma.
You make sure those children eat now. You provide them hot meals 5 days a week. You’ve provided food packs for the family’s needs at home. You battled their malnutrition and made a tangible difference in their lives.
“Without your support,” the mother said “we would have been under enormous debt. God is our only breadwinner. We cannot afford such debts.”
The work you started one year ago in these hot food kitchens in Aleppo ripples past the neighbourhoods where the kitchens are located, and past the outlying villages where the food is delivered. These kitchens are a now a launchpad for work in more desperate areas of Syria.
Stay tuned to hear more about how you’re showing up.