We’re in the middle of the holy month of Ramadan, which means our Muslim friends are fasting from sunup until sundown every day. They’ve been telling us how much they look forward to this time every year but also how hard it can be. So, we decided to get the community together to show our resettled friends that we’re thinking about them.
On Tuesday, May 15, we hosted our first annual “Iftar In A Jar.” During Ramadan, families break their fast together every evening with a meal called Iftar. Traditionally, the fast is first broken with dates, followed by other delicious treats and dishes. Many of you in our community generously donated dates and other wonderful things so we had plenty to make a jar for every single resettled person that we work with. Thank you!
Also, many thanks to Dania AlKhahouli of the non-profit A Country Called Syria for her great explanation of Ramadan and how it feels to celebrate it. Dania did a fantastic job describing the meaning of Ramadan and why, even given the daily sacrifices of no food and water, it's something she looks forward to every year.
To make the jars we all gathered around tables where donations had been laid out. Every person grabbed a paper that had a person’s name and a list of items to put in his or her gift jar. Included was tea, energy drinks, protein bars, plus books for the kids. Each jar also had a traditional Ramadan gift of clothing — gorgeous scarves for the women and socks or shirts for the men.
By the end of the night we had assembled over 70 jars for our friends, plus an additional 20 extras for anyone else we might cross paths with. We spent the next few days delivering these gifts to our Muslim neighbors and were humbled by their gratitude. They were all touched that members of the community thought to do something kind for them. Here’s an excerpt from a note we received: “Hello my dear sister. I got the package today from all if you. More than one billion thanks. I can't telling you when I opened the package I can't stop my crying you all have such big hearts and very very kind.”
A big thanks to everyone who participated — and to the LDS Church in Claremont for letting us use their space!