April 10, 2022

Refugee update: Ramadan, Eid toy drive, bikes, and success stories

Ramadan Mubarak! This Ramadan, MCC has added dates, halal meat, and additional produce to our biweekly food deliveries going to 330 families, many of whom are refugees. Additionally, MCC is hosting a free iftar for refugees and is working with our partner mosques–the Lighthouse Mosque (Oakland), Noor Islamic Center (Concord), and another to be determined in Fremont–to make sure that everyone feels connected to their local community during this special month.

Please help us make Eid special for refugees and other zakat-eligible children by donating new, unwrapped gifts to the MCC Girl Scouts’ Fifth Annual Toy Drive. Toys can be purchased via the toy wishlist or at any store and dropped off at MCC. (Toy bins are in the foyer and MCC’s doors are open 10 am -10 pm daily.) We have about 10 days left, and we’re only halfway to our goal–please help!

So far, through the grace of God and the generosity of donors, MCC has provided 12 bicycles, along with helmets and bike locks, to adult refugees and another nine to refugee children. These bikes are a primary source of transportation for getting to work, classes, appointments, and shopping, and can also be a form of entertainment for the whole family. We are currently looking for bikes in working condition suitable for an adult or teen, preferably for someone 5’2″-5’9″. If you have one to donate, please sign up here. Alternately, if you are interested in purchasing bike locks or helmets, you can do so on this wishlistWe intend to do a larger bike fair that will include children’s bikes after Ramadan.

Through the grace of God and many people’s generosity, MCC has been able to help 170+ refugee families establish new lives here in the Bay Area. Here are a couple of success stories to give you a taste of what is happening:
Story 1: Pair of Brothers R. & H., wife of R., and three children

Br. R.’s family left Afghanistan after the August 15th withdrawal of American forces. They arrived in California in November. In December they came to the East Bay Bazaar organized by MCC/SRVIC where they received clothes, blankets and basic necessities, plus a lead for employment. One week later, Br. R. and his brother, Br. H., obtained jobs at a restaurant five minutes from MCC through our referral. Their new employer-assisted Br. R.’s family with lodging, and all household necessities were provided by the Refugee Relief team from SRVIC and MCC. After passing his driving test in February, Br. R. picked up a car from MCC which had been donated by a restaurant patron. Due to their jobs, Br. R. and his family have been embraced by the Malaysian Muslim community of the Bay Area and are now chefs of Malaysian cuisine.

Story 2: Sister M. and young son

Sr. M. and her seven-year-old son arrived in California from Afghanistan in October and attended MCC’s first East Bay Bazaar, held in November. She and her son were driven by a community volunteer who lived 15 minutes from her hotel. Due to their interaction, the volunteer decided to adopt Sr. M. and her son as part of their community. Within two weeks, Sr. M. and her son moved into an apartment the volunteer co-signed for her. Her son enrolled in school, and Sr. M enrolled in adult English classes. Through the two bazaars that Sr. M. attended, we were able to provide her with basic necessities, and later, when she moved into permanent housing, the household items she needed to set up her new home.

Here are other ways to support refugees:

Join the furniture delivery WhatsApp group  (no vehicle needed)
Offer in like-new condition furniture here

Donate to the SRVIC Refugee Support Fund
Purchase items from our wishlist
Sign up to volunteer with the food pantry
Learn about donating used cars here
Use this form to share housing or employment referrals and/or to indicate a willingness to co-sign on a lease
Encourage others to sign up for our volunteer updates
Do not drop off used items at either MCC or SRVIC.

Questions? Feel free to reach out to us at refugee@mcceastbay.org.