Monday, February 2, 2009

February: CRP will deliver food assistance packages to needy Iraqi families

Yesterday Maha and I went to a large supermarket that has discounted prices and chose the selection of items that we will include in the staple food relief boxes we will deliver to 50 Iraqi families this month. We chose: rice, pastas, powdered milk, oil, canned meats, cheese, canned vegetables, sugar and tea. We made arrangements with the market for them to put together the 50 boxes in two sizes - one for small families and another for larger ones. The larger boxes cost $30; for smaller families the cost is $17.

Today we went to the market to pay for the boxes and watched as the clerks loaded them onto a truck and delivered them to us.

Now Maha's kitchen, jokingly called "Maha Mall" because at least half of it usually is filled with bags and boxes of good used clothing for Iraqi refugees, is "Maha Market"with the food assistance boxes stacked along one wall.

Tomorrow we will begin distribution to needy families.

Late in summer 2008, UNHCR stopped providing food assistance and instead, slightly raised the monthly cash slightly - less than 5JD (under $7) per person in the household. This increase is meant to pay for food in leiu food assistance. The cash increase is not adequate to provide good nutrition for families - especially since cost of goods have risen this past year as they have globally. In addition, a family crisis such as a health emergency or high utility bill can devastate the meager budget of a family, leaving them with no money to pay for food.

We also be purchasing infant formula to distribute this month. Many mothers cannot breastfeed because stress and anxiety interfere with their ability to produce enough milk to feed their infants. The cost of formula to feed one baby for one month is an astounding $70 per month! Of course, this is beyond the ability of most families and children risk poor nutrition as the mothers may water down formula to make it go further.

The need for this assistance is overwhelming. We hope you will consider making a contribution of any amount to help us to feed more hungry families. Your contributions are fully tax deductible.

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