Why I Volunteer Series
By Volunteer Virginia S.
A few years ago, I met a Syrian Refugee. He had escaped the conflict and arrived a few months prior to our encounter. It was at a Starbucks of all places. He was a doctor and had to take all 3 medical board exams here before the U.S. would allow him to practice. We became good friends. He was struggling to learn our systems here and study for his exams, yet he made time to take calls from former patients in Syria.
He made time for a pregnant woman still in Syria whose husband had disappeared; the husband was also a doctor. This man I met reached across land and sea to try and help this woman, and many others like her, all while he was struggling to adjust to life in the U.S. He helped other families who arrived from Syria with driver’s license exams and bank statements. His was a soul to behold.
As I listened to his stories of how things had changed in Syria since the war began, saw photos of before and after, and heard of the difficulties to escape the war-torn areas, I knew I wanted to help. I did not have contacts across the sea to reach out to, nor did I know what was needed most, but surely there was a way for me to help others like him? That is where my search began. My search led me to Islamic Relief USA.
Islamic Relief welcomed my assistance. I began by helping with fundraisers and events for refugees in Syria. Over time, I graduated to helping put together goody bags for children during EID and food packing to send overseas during Ramadan. Through Islamic Relief I have been able to impact lives both in the U.S. and abroad.
I have made friends among the volunteers, shared recipes, and experiences. Together we have assisted homeless shelters and provided meal packs for war-torn areas of the Middle East. Whether your reason for helping is personal, religious, or communal, Islamic Relief is a fantastic place to meet like-minded individuals working towards a common goal: making the world a better place for all.