Impact Syria | 16-10-2022
Charity Kitchen Provides Food for the Neediest in Syria


Show: true / Country: Syria / Syria
“We wanted to stand by the elderly people who are left alone with no one caring for them.” According to Nariman Khoury, this is the reason why, four years ago, the charity kitchen started functioning from the Mar Elias Greek Orthodox church in al-Hwash. The church is one of the Centres of Hope in Syria. Together with Nazek, Nariman is responsible for the activities in the kitchen.

The smell of food fills the church hall. About a dozen women are preparing lunch for roughly 150 elderly people who will receive a delicious meal today, as they have every week for four years. In front of the building, kibbehs, a type of Middle Eastern meatball, are roasted over an open fire. Inside the building, a sweet rice porridge is prepared. Soon, the first group of deliverers will depart from here to take the meals to the beneficiaries.

Nariman’s hair is covered with a white cooking cap. She explains about the kitchen, while the other ladies continue their work. “We help those people who can’t help themselves. Their children may have left the country, or they don’t have children at all. They are the forgotten individuals. Two days a week they receive a healthy meal for free.”

“The need is huge,” Nazek adds to the words of Nariman. “Without this food, the situation of those people would be miserable.”

But it is not only that they get something good to eat. “We also visit the beneficiaries twice a week. About 20 people are volunteering for the project of the church. We work in shifts. We love to help people. We love the charity work.”

We suffered ourselves too

Both Nariman and Nazek suffered from breast cancer in the past years. “The doctors forbade us to do any work. When we are doing this work, all our tiredness goes away,” says Nazek. “We know what people are going through, as we suffered ourselves too.”

According to the women, the current situation in Syria contrasts with the good life the people had before the war started in 2011. “People had enough, no one was in need, we had a good life.”

Nariman has lost everything in the war. “We were living in Homs before the war. Our house was destroyed. My husband is a medical doctor and I am a pharmacist, but the pharmacy was destroyed too. My husband was kidnapped and threatened. We lost everything and came as displaced people to this place. I came to live in my parents’ house; we had nothing to sleep on. Yes, I know how the people are suffering.”

“That was my son…leaving the country”

While she speaks, her phone rings. “I need to take this call,” she says. When she ends the call, her eyes are filled with tears. She takes a tissue from her bag, takes her glasses off and wipes her eyes. She sighs. “That was my son, he just confirmed that he succeeded in leaving the country.” Like so many other young people, he sees no future in his country. “Even when the breadwinner has an income, it won’t be enough to sustain a family,” his mother says, trying to explain why.

The church doesn’t want the people to be dependent on the food they prepare in the kitchen. Those who are still able to work can apply for a micro-loan to start their own business. The church has successfully invested in several new businesses like a sawmill and a blacksmith shop. “They have to start paying back after three months. Only 20% of the total amount they got needs to be paid back. We hope this helps the young generation to stay in Syria.”
  • Thank God for Nariman, Nazek and the other volunteers who love and take care the elderly people. Ask God to bless the Centres of Hope as they support the people with food, clothes, and medical care.
  • Pray for Open Doors partners who are providing training in livelihood skills to give young people hope for the future.
  • Pray for wise church leaders who will support and guide believers making difficult decisions for the future of their families.

With your support, we will open more Centres of Hope across Syria and Iraq, and the church will shine as a beacon of light in the darkness. Hope will arise once more in the region!

  • Every HK$290 could supply vital food, winter clothing and blankets to a Christian in Syria this winter.
  • Every HK$400 could enable two vulnerable believers to access basic medical services.
  • Every HK$510 could provide trauma support and counselling to a believer attending a retreat.

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