Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals

by Rebuilding Alliance
Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals
Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals
Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals
Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals
Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals
Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals
Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals
Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals
Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals
Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals
Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals
Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals
Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals
Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals
Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals
Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals
Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals
Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals
Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals
Mrs. Najah's Kitchen - Gaza Emergency Meals

Mrs. Najah's Kitchen is determined to keep feeding destitute Gaza families. During this summer, Mrs. Najah and her team at the Women Programs Center Rafah endured the threat of pandemic and the heat, cooking in giant batches and delivering meals to thousands of households. Mrs. Najah said, "Feeding the poor is indescribable happiness despite the fatigue we face."

From June to August, Mrs. Najah's Kitchen served 4050 families living in various neighborhoods all over Rafah: Nahr Al-Bared, Tal Al-Sultan, Al-Shaboura, the Swedish Village, Deir Al-Balah, Oriba, and the beach area. Some of them have not been helped by any other organization. The 4050 families also include members undergoing treatment for cancer and kidney disease. Mrs. Najah found these families after reaching out to organizations that specialized in serving patients like them. Now, in October, Mrs. Najah’s Kitchen delivers twice a week, directly to underprivileged dialysis patients receiving treatment in the hospital.

The Al-Shaboura neighborhood of the U.N.’s Rafah Refugee Camp, pictured below, is particularly challenging for deliveries because of the narrow alleys. 70 years ago, the UN allocated each family space for their tent. When it became clear that they would not be going home any time soon, the U.N. provided simple housing in that same space. As families grew, those who could afford to, built up, on their same plot of land. Thousands of people live in each refugee camp neighborhood. Al-Shaboura's population is more than 40,000 people in just 15 kilometers.

In May, Mrs. Najah adjusted the Kitchen's procedures so they could keep delivering during Israeli missile attacks on Gaza. They delivered 2430 meals to families sheltering in UN schools or with other relatives and made sure to use only UN-marked vehicles so Mrs. Najah and her volunteer teams wouldn't be a target for missiles. Knowing the depth of need, Mrs. Najah's Kitchen also collaborated with another organization to deliver to families even in North Gaza, which was hardest-hit. The work was dangerous, but she took all precautions to keep the team safe, and, thankfully, no one was hurt during deliveries.

During the bombings, a group of gamers learned of Mrs. Najah’s Kitchen because it went viral all over Instagram and Twitter (including a shout-out from Bella Hadid!), and they wanted to help. They streamed all month long on Twitch to raise funds. Images of Mrs. Najah’s team doing good work in the middle of despair moved many to give as the gamers played to help Gaza families. They raised $17,572 overall, with half going to the Kitchen and other going to the Gaza Emergency Relief Fund. Thank you Jon G., kav_p, ashewyn, karlgerm, justicekazzy, ohnoplays, paimonxx, wouldhaus, and ProjectRuby!

Mrs. Najah's Kitchen is a lifeline for the community. Mrs. Najah herself is there at nearly every delivery. Thankfully, Mrs. Najah has been vaccinated and so has her staff. Here are some of her stories from the field:

  • I asked an elderly lady, what did she have for lunch? She said shyly, "Just what God has given." I did not see anything but bread in front of her.

  • A child came running towards me telling me that they have no food so I gave him one meal. He said to me it will not be enough because they are ten in the house. I gave him one more, and he went away happy.

  • A man said I came at a good time as he had a problem with his wife. “I did not know what to do and where to get the money in order to save the Friday meal. Thank you very much. Thanks be to God, my children will be very happy."

  • Another said, "How much this makes me feel that there is someone who is looking out for us. I have a family of 8 people, and so a great responsibility, especially after school. I’m so happy that someone is searching to find us. Thank God and thank you to everyone who contributed to getting us this delicious meal."

  • A lady said that their welfare checks are delayed a lot so the meals really help. She said the meals taste as if she made it at home and the quantity is sufficient.

  • Another mom said, "My children were crying because they wanted chicken, and I had no money. All I could do was to fry potatoes. Thank you."

For families who don't know when the next meal is coming, a delicious, home-cooked meal means so much. Thank you for making a difference in their lives, and I hope you continue to hold Mrs. Najah's Kitchen and these families in your heart especially during the holidays.

Delivery in Al-Shaboura neighborhood
Delivery in Al-Shaboura neighborhood

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Imagine cooking delicious food and delivering it to hundreds of people, all while fasting. This is what Mrs. Najah and her staff at the Women Programs Center Rafah has been doing throughout the month of Ramadan. They prepared and delivered meals for 1800 families across many neighborhoods in Rafah: Oriba, Al-Hashash area, Al-Shaboura Refugee Camp, Morag, and Al-Ezba.

Mrs. Najah's Kitchen usually delivers in the afternoon. However, because families were fasting for Ramadan, she and her team scheduled their deliveries later in the day so families can break their fasts with the Kitchen's hot meals.

Mrs. Najah’s Kitchen focuses on widows and divorcées with no source of income. In addition, Women Programs Center Rafah teamed up with other local organizations to deliver to families with disabilities, cancer patients, and orphan children under the care of other family members.

When she received her meal, one woman said: “I swear I’ve not started cooking yet for Iftar. I was confused what to cook because I don’t have anything in the kitchen. This was sent to us by God. Thank you!”

Some of the beneficiaries also praised the quality of the food: 

“What a delicious meal! I can’t remember that I’ve had a meal like this my entire life “.

“Honestly, it’s my first time tasting as good as this hot cooked meal. You cooked an amazing meal, and it made our day because my wife didn’t have anything to cook for Iftar. We were lucky because of your visit. God bless you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts."

As Gaza's COVID cases rise again, it's important for families with no or little income source to have food deliveries they can rely on. We hope you will continue to support Mrs. Najah's Kitchen so we can deliver food to more families more often. A simple meal of chicken and rice provides not just sustenance but lets vulnerable families know that they aren't abandoned during this difficult time. 

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First of all, I would like to give a big shoutout to comedian, Michael Schirtzer, who posted about Mrs. Najah's Kitchen on his Instagram and TikTok. He galvanized over 100 new donors for Mrs. Najah's Kitchen and together raised over $10,000! This is wonderful news coming into the new year. Thank you to all who saw Michael's post and were moved to help. Welcome to Mrs. Najah's team!

Mrs. Najah will continue to serve families during the COVID-19 restrictions in Gaza. Women Programs Center Rafah (WPCR) has special permission as an NGO to deliver meals directy to families' homes. During our last October distribution, 2400 meals were delivered to neighborhoods all over Rafah. Mrs. Najah targeted families where breadwinners do not have a monthly fixed salary, and she and her team made deliveries at different areas every week: Oriba, Al-Malalha, Morag, Al-Shaboura, Tal-Al Sultan, Swedish Village, and downtown Rafah.

Watch Mrs. Najah's team at work in this video

The last two weeks were especially meaningful. For the third week, WPCR worked with Al Amal Association (another longtime Rebuilding Alliance partner) to deliver meals to families with disabled children. For the fourth week, meals were delivered to cancer patients in collaboration with local cancer organizations.

In November and December, there were only five days of deliveries overall because funding started to run out. However, they still delivered 1100 meals to households with widows, cancer patients, or senior citizens who can't afford their daily meals. Some of these families received deliveries because they came directly to the Center to ask for help. In addition, Mrs. Najah worked with a local NGO to deliver meals to orphaned children who live with their grandparents. 

For Mrs. Najah, these meal deliveries aren't just a chance to feed people; it is also a way of checking on her beneficiaries' welfare so she can connect them to other resources in WPCR if needed. It's important to her that these families don't feel abandoned.

The next GlobalGiving disbursement will arrive on January 25th. Rebuilding Alliance can then begin the process of transferring the grant to WPCR so Mrs. Najah's Kitchen can resume deliveries at full capacity—600 families a week. Thank you for your donation and holding Rafah families in your light. 

P.S. If you would like to cook like Mrs. Najah, author and chef Laila El Haddad has also joined the Mrs. Najah's Kitchen team. She has graciously shared a recipe from her cookbook, The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey by her and Maggie Schmitt, published by Just World Books. Scan of recipe below.

Watch Mrs. Najah's deliveries in our video
Watch Mrs. Najah's deliveries in our video
Okra and Lentils/Bamia wi Adas
Okra and Lentils/Bamia wi Adas

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Mrs. Najah and workers from the WPC-Rafah
Mrs. Najah and workers from the WPC-Rafah

I am happy to report that our grant has transferred successfully. Mrs. Najah and her team received permission to deliver during closures, and they are ready to begin hot food delivery, 3 days/week, starting next week!

This is all about details:  Rest assured, as always, Rebuilding Alliances continues our own due diligence to assure full compliance with all U.S. rules and regulations especially with regard to our grants to our Palestinian NGO partners in Gaza.  Regarding the transfer of funds for this project, GlobalGiving transferred the World Refugee Week donations at the end of July.  Rebuilding Alliance had changed credit unions in favor of upgraded fincial services however, the new credit union had little experience with international wire transfers. We had to find a better way to bank — and we did.  We moved Rebuilding Alliance's grantmaking account to a commercial bank with lots of experience with international wire transfers. Success, and just in time.

As you may know, on August 25th, Gaza went into emergency curfew because, for the first time, cases of COVID-19 appeared outside of quarantine centers at Gaza's two entry points.  Mrs. Najah's emergency food program at the Women Programs Center-Rafah (WPC) is needed even more now as Gaza's already high unemployment numbers have risen due to COVID. Many are going hungry.

Next week, starting at 9am ET on Sep. 14th, GlobalGiving will be matching each donation up to $50.00 by 50%, and matching recurring donations up to $200.  Please mark your calendar, and share this with your friends to give them the opportunity to give.

To get their delivery permit, Mrs. Najah and WPC formed a committee of Palestinian NGOs in the area and together, they received special permission from the Gaza Government's Ministry of Interior to deliver aid directly to families.  The WPC has permission prepare and deliver hot meals to homes all over Rafah. WPC plans to deliver to 200 families a day with different areas targeted on each day so they can serve as many as possible.

Our challenge now is to fund next month's dinners.  Our goal is to raise $23,000 per month to make 2400 meals and feed 12,000 people each month.

Thank you for holding the people of Gaza in your light. Your contribution is much-needed and appreciated, and if you can make a recurring donation next week, please do.

A hot meal makes all the difference
A hot meal makes all the difference
Your $10 donation send dinner to a family of 5
Your $10 donation send dinner to a family of 5

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Rebuilding Alliance

Location: Redwood City, CA - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @RebuildAll
Project Leader:
Donna Baranski-walker
Executive Director
Redwood City, CA United States
$166,124 raised of $175,000 goal
 
2,583 donations
$8,876 to go
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