Posted on May 19, 2009 in Arab American Institute

 

Service Day  2009 VolunteersAround 30 Arab Americans came together on Saturday, May 16 to help the residents of Freedom House establish their garden and work to beautify the area surrounding the building. Residents plan to share the garden’s produce with each other.

Service Day  2009 Garden

This community service project, part of the fifth annual Arab American Service Day, was organized by AmeriCorps members who are part of the Arab American Resource Corps. Arab American Service Day is an all Corps Service Day which takes place each year at the end of the AmeriCorps Week.

This year, the Arab American Institute Foundation teamed up with the D.C. Chapter of the Network of Arab American Professionals (NAAP) and So Others May Eat (SOME) to offer a service to the residents of Freedom House, one of the many program sites administered by SOME.

Anne Parsons, Senior Property Manager for Freedom House said the residents have wanted this garden for so long, but needed help putting it in. “If we had to pay for a company to come and do this, we wouldn’t have been able to do it,” Parsons explained.


Ridah Sabouni

The volunteers were delighted to be working for a good cause and meeting other Arab Americans at the same time. “I feel I don’t volunteer enough and thought this is great,” said Nassir Ben Ammar, a young Arab American from Tunisia. “So far, it’s been great.”

“I got to see the before and after results immediately,” said Mohamed Ali, an Arab American volunteer from Egypt. “I wanna make sure I do this more often.”

The volunteers however, weren’t working alone. They were joined by residents from Freedom House who said funding had been the main obstacle in pushing the project forward. When Freedom House Program Manager John Huntley notified the residents at one of their meetings that a group of volunteers were coming to help out, they were very excited. “We’ve wanted to do this for a long time,” said resident Dominic Savoy. “When I heard they wanted to put in a garden, I thought this was great.”

“With the proper keep up, well be looking forward to continuing this work,” said Huntley.

John HuntleyAccording to the Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness in the District, there are over 6,000 homeless people in the D.C. area. Thanks to organizations like SOME, these families and individuals have a welcoming place to turn to. In 2008, SOME served 398,821 meals, provided 16,334 sets of clothing, and created 96 housing units to move people from the streets into safe and affordable homes. During these trying economic times, many more people face the prospect of losing their homes. Now, perhaps more than ever, the homeless community needs help from the D.C. community at large. We hope that our modest project will encourage further acts of service for this growing portion of our population.

Dominic  Savoy“I got to see the before and after results immediately,” said Mohamed Ali, an Arab American volunteer from Egypt. “I wanna make sure I do this more often.”

The volunteers however, weren’t working alone. They were joined by residents from Freedom House who said funding had been the main obstacle in pushing the project forward. When Freedom House Program Manager John Huntley notified the residents at one of their meetings that a group of volunteers were coming to help out, they were very excited. “We’ve wanted to do this for a long time,” said resident Dominic Savoy. “When I heard they wanted to put in a garden, I thought this was great.”

With the proper keep up, we’ll be looking forward to continuing this work,” said Huntley.

According to the Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness in the District, there are over 6,000 homeless people in the D.C. area. Thanks to organizations like SOME, these families and individuals have a welcoming place to turn to. In 2008, SOME served 398,821 meals, provided 16,334 sets of clothing, and created 96 housing units to move people from the streets into safe and affordable homes. During these trying economic times, many more people face the prospect of losing their homes. Now, perhaps more than ever, the homeless community needs help from the D.C. community at large. We hope that our modest project will encourage further acts of service for this growing portion of our population. 

 

Click here to view photos from the event.

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