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Helping The Community Out...

Giving Back with Miry’s List

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Sometimes everything in life just lines up perfectly. Like for many of you, the situation in Syria has been heartbreaking for me to watch/stand by and go along with my day. And the culture of fear and rejection around immigrants from certain parts of the world will not be my personal or our family culture. There are a million ways to help, but often they feel abstract to me (still worth it, but less connection made to people in need). Meanwhile for my job I have to create content for companies, often using major pieces of furniture just for a few days. Yesterday’s post was a great example, and after we shot that (6 weeks ago) it was my first chance to work with Miry of Miry’s List (more below) and donate the furniture to former refugee families in Los Angeles who arrive with nothing and literally sleep and eat on the floor.

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This post could be extremely long so I’ll keep it as brief as possible. Miry’s list is a movement of neighbors and friends dedicated to welcoming new arrival refugee families into our communities. Here’s what happens – after living in whatever horrors these kids had to, often in camps and applying to come for 4 years, they arrive and have nothing – literally. No food, money, support, home, cell phones, friends or family. Some speak english, some don’t. Many of them worked as translators for the US military (and had to flee for the safety of their families as they are seen as traitors) and they land here, with nothing. Imagine how terrifying that would be as a parent. Sure, the government has some social services set up, but as you can imagine there is a lot of bureaucracy and not enough support. These families have been in survival mode, literally, for YEARS watching their family members, friends and neighborhoods get destroyed. So while they are happy to be here and be safe, shifting from ‘try to keep your family alive’ mode into ‘be a productive part of a community’ is super hard.

However you feel politically shouldn’t matter – it’s about helping our neighbors, families who are already here, legally, and living next to us with nothing. Which is what Miry did after she met her first family. She wanted to give back and help those neighbors, families and people that really needed it.

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So what she did is set up a list of basics and necessities for each family that people, anyone – YOU, can purchase and these items ship directly to her or the family if they have a stable home to ship stuff to. It’s everything from diapers to shoes, to cell phones. It’s crowd sourcing commerce and it’s working. She and her volunteer team also help the families meet others in the community by having these popup supper clubs where people can purchase tickets for a meal, that goes directly to the family and the food/drink is inspired by the country or even made by that family (they’ve only done two but one of the dads was a chef in Afghanistan so he wanted to cook for everyone).

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Basics are easier to provide, but obviously larger pieces of furniture and decorative items (pillows! a cute lamp!) are harder to come up with and get donated, so I was super happy to start this relationship where as I’m finish using/staging/shooting some pieces we immediately can deliver them to a family that needs them. From yesterday’s post we gave a family a dining table and chairs, and another family the sofa. I don’t have an endless budget to create these posts so I do try to return what can be returned, but furniture that we’ve put together or destroyed packaging or lamps that we’ve de-tagged can be hard to return so this is the perfect, perfect, perfect way to give it a great second (and permanent) use. In a perfect world I could do makeovers for the family’s homes (and we are doing one right now of a graduate of the homeless shelter I designed a couple years ago). But my bandwidth here is honestly so full and I don’t want to make promises that I can’t keep – I would hate for a family to think they are getting a full makeover, then have it take two years due to our busy schedule. While I’m looking for any volunteer designers (maybe someone just starting out?) in LA that I can oversee (so that we can leverage exposure on the blog to get everything gifted) for now directly donating pieces to families after we finish shooting with them is such an easy way to provide some assistance.

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Miry came over recently and our kids played in the the new fort while we chatted about her whole program.

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Basically how it works is, you visit their site where she has a page with all the families that are in need. You can scroll through pictures of the families, read their stories, and then click through to see a list of items that each family needs, which you can then order directly through Amazon. You can buy one small item, or you could fulfill the whole list, it really is up to you and every little bit helps so there is no gift from their list that is too small. Once you place the order, the item gets sent directly to the family or to Miry who delivers them to them.

Here are a few of the families in need right now, to give you an idea of all the different needs and situations of each of these families. Each of these stories is pulled from Miry’s website.

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Alziope Family: Syrian Family of 6 with a child with special needs. Their 8 year old son, pictured here in the middle, has been diagnosed with a severe case of Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a rare genetic disorder that causes brittle bones and stunted growth. Mom is young, in her mid twenties, and she is an INCREDIBLE cook! Bakes delicious cakes too!

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Kamil Family: This is an Iraqi refugee family (mother and two teenagers (girl/16, boy/14). The daughter is in high school and speaks English well. They are refugees from Iraq who fled to Turkey first, lived in a refugee camp for 4 years, and were finally able to make it to the U.S. in late 2016. (The father of the family is unable to join his wife and children in the U.S. at this time.) Currently, the family is isolated from others in their situation, as there very few refugee families living in the neighborhood in which they’ve settled. They are currently living in a small one bedroom apartment, and are in need of household basics, like a futon and bedding, as well as shoes, and bicycles to use for transportation. Thank you for any assistance you can provide!

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Alawad Family: This is a family of 7 from Homs, Syria. They fled in 2012, walking BY FOOT with their 5 children, including their 3 week old baby to Jordan. They spent four years in Jordan, at first in a refugee camp, then leaving after two month because of atrocious conditions, and living in the city. Their children are aged 13, 11, 9, 8, and 4.  Dad makes best falafel I’ve ever had.

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Zarour Family: This is a Syrian family of 7 (mom, dad, girls/14, 13, 11; boys/8, 6). The 6-year-old is disabled and non-verbal, but his eyes are filled with joy and he smiles easily. The father was a contractor in Syria, whose specialty was creating beautiful ceilings. They recently moved to Southern California, and have been living in an apartment for just a few months. They are currently in the process of enrolling their children in school.

If you are an individual looking to help as a volunteer, or want to help complete some of the many families lists that are in need you can head to the lists page on their site to view all the families and help them out. Or if you are a company or brand that is interested in partnerships or sending product directly to them you can contact press@miryslist.org to get in touch with Miry. They are in need of everything from diapers to dish cloths to clothing to car seats to toys to clothes, so any company of any kind really can help out and provide these families with the help that they need.

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This whole post is less about me, i’m barely doing anything, but more about highlighting people who are taking the wellbeing of our community in their hands and making change, with no profit. It gives you an avenue to help direct individuals and it will also hopefully get some larger sponsors for them so that they can work more efficiently. I know that there are a lot of other programs in different cities, doing something similar or different, so if you guys have any please leave them in the comments so that they get some exposure as well.

Thanks, Miry, for doing what you do and inspiring others to join. Again, you can get all the info you need on her site. xx

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  1. This is so wonderful. I’m reading this at work, and Miry’s website and trying not to cry. I’m so glad people are helping. I wish our government was doing more, but this seems like better than nothing. Thanks for alerting me to Miry. I’m off to donate to her, and then see if I can find something closer in MA that I can get involved with. If anyone has suggestions I’d welcome them.

  2. This is beautiful and thank you for sharing such a wonderful organization. I’m surprised there’s no comments yet, so I wanted to thank you and your team for providing great content and supporting your community. Unrelated, I think you’re blog is having a caching problem again, where the Blog page doesn’t show the newest post (it’s visible from the homepage only – at least for me). Thank you again for this important, and timely, post.

  3. Emily,
    Thank you for this post. We all have the ability to give to those in need. Knowing where to find them and how to specifically help is so helpful.

  4. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  5. WHAT A GREAT POST! Thank you for posting about this. I think that even though your blog is design based, which is always ridiculously fun to read and look at, it’s so nice to include some of the more serious side of the world and showing us ways we can help.

  6. Amazing post! Thank you so much for sharing!

  7. This is so great, both your donating to them and highlighting the good work being done! Thanks for sharing – and would love to know if anyone is familiar with a similar charity in TX. I’d love to donate my time locally.

    1. Check out Refugee Services of Texas. Some friends were involved with a Welcome Team for a family and lots of people helped by donating barely used furniture and buying items to stock an apartment. It also looks like they have Amazon/other online wishlists and registries for different areas in Texas.

      https://www.rstx.org/donate-1

      1. Sorry I missed this, Ellen! But I’m glad we both have good things to share about RSTX.

    2. Refugee Services of Texas does similar work! One of their volunteer opportunities is setting up an apartment for an incoming family; another is shopping for groceries and stocking the fridge ahead of their arrival. You can also do things like airport pickup and driving to appointments.

    3. Dwell With Dignity is another fantastic charity with a similar mission (in Dallas & Atlanta). They don’t specifically target refugees, but work with several different placement organizations in order to help furnish apartments for families in need. You can volunteer for their workshops (making – art, upholstery, etc), install days, or for Thrift Studio (their charity fundraiser).

  8. This is SO great, thank you for sharing.

  9. What a wonderful organization, and such a great way to do something local to help immigrants/refugees. Thanks so much for sharing Emily!

  10. What an amazing organization, thank you for sharing!

  11. Could you inquire of some big box stores that sell bicycles if their customers could charge a bike at their local store and have it picked up in a store where there are refugee families in need. It would be good PR for the sponsor store-especially if they gave a small discount-and it would facilitate distribution of a large item to those in need.

    thanks

  12. I hate injustice and aggression. I want to and will help Syrian refugees. I believe in helping those in need. I am enraged at how they’re perceived both here in US and in Europe (especially my home country of Poland). I’m ashamed whenever I hear insensitive comments from my friends and family caused by fear of unknown. I am all for sharing your wealth/comfort with them, but in all honesty shopping lists including jewelry and fingernail polish seem like the priorities are lost. Am I wrong to think that?

    1. I think I understand where you’re coming from. I’ve definitely heard this before, that people in great poverty should fulfill their basic needs before having any treats or pleasures, like cable TV for instance or a new pair of brand name shoes. I’ll share my thoughts on this, in case they’re of interest.

      I’ve never had to experience it myself, but from what I’ve heard or can imagine, living in extreme poverty or stress is so difficult, that small treats like nail polish or costume jewelry or candy may be hugely important to mental health. And some things that seem like treats or extravagance can be important to survival — having a smartphone or internet access can be vital to things like staying in touch with a child’s school (my kid’s school seems to put everything online) or applying for jobs. I think it can be very hard for anyone not in that situation to define what’s a priority.

      I know I would really hate to have to give up the small treats I’m able to enjoy — like some chocolate or TV at the end of the day. It’s a little thing to look forward to and feel joyful about. I’m happy to be able to provide treats to those in great need. But the nice thing about this list is that there are many options for giving, and that people who prefer to meet what they see as basic needs can give those items too.

    2. Not everyone who would like to donate can afford much. Including small items such as these on a list makes it possible for more people to donate. And for people who have been in survival mode for so long, I’m sure receiving something “special” like nail polish or jewelry is a real treat —
      a reminder of life beyond “survival.”

    3. Charities are always voluntary giving; if you don’t agree with the charity then don’t give. No need to also spit on it, metaphorically speaking. If you have a better idea of how to help people, then start your own charity. How sad if what makes you feel better is to judge someone else’s efforts and a refugee families wish list.

    4. It’s a good question to consider; however, I think the inclusion of frivolous items is a good thing here. Of course basic needs like food and bedding are incredibly important, but little joys are also paramount in establishing strong mental health, particularly for those who have been exposed to prolonged traumatic events. Their entire world has been irreparably changed (and not for the better), and if little luxuries like nail polish can help with mental stability and safety, then sign me up for that list of items.

      Thank you for highlighting this organization, Emily. I’m going to check out Miry’s List now.

    5. War is so far removed from our realities that we can’t even begin to imagine the horrors that these families have endured. There seems to be this general perception that refugees should always be and/or have always been cold/hungry/desperate/poor individuals, but before war destroyed their countries and homes they were doctors, teachers, homemakers, students, professionals, etc etc. But, before they were refugees, there were normal people with normal lives just like any on us commenting here. After everything they’ve endured to get to a place where they can feel safe and finally rebuild their lives, I don’t think it’s unreasonable that some of them might want items that to you or I seem frivolous. When you’ve thought of nothing but basic survival for years, something like nail polish can feel like a real luxury. If it brings someone comfort, then why not? Just my
      perspective on things! 🙂

    6. Radek, I’ll start by saying that I’m not associated with Miry or her (really exceptional) efforts. And I can understand where you are coming from, because those items do seem like luxury ones.

      I will say that sometimes though, just a small bit of “luxury” can make the difference in someone’s day. How many times have you had something small to help you feel better – maybe a latte or piece of chocolate? Or perhaps you picked up a small bouquet of flowers (I don’t know you obviously, so I’m just throwing possible ideas out)?

      And when you think about how inexpensive nail polish is and how it might help someone feel more feminine or feel as if they fit in more (lots of teens and women) wear it, it doesn’t seem like too much to ask. I might feel different if someone was asking for $150 perfume, but small items are like a little icing on someone’s cake.

      I’m not judging you for your feelings and there are a lot of people who feel like you do! I just wanted to try and make the point out that maybe there’s a reason to bring a small joy to someone else…

    7. It’s a question that many ask, and I thought this essay did a great job illustrating why these little indulgences matter: https://theestablishment.co/poor-people-deserve-to-taste-something-other-than-shame-90eb3aceabf9

      1. Thank you for all your comments and input. Yes, in this country it’s considered much easier to assimilate if you feel like a part of community based on your looks. Like we only feel comfortable around a Syrian woman (God forbid a Syrian man) if her fingernails have nail polish on them. Do I believe in that attitude? No. Nail polish and jewelry as some kind of assimilation tool is nothing but superficial? I don’t agree with it. Actually I stand against it… I believe I still have a valid point. Asking for help has it’s extremely important meaning and purpose and muddling the message is not appropriate. I believe that fueling negative response by including “little luxury items” is not what this help/aid stands for. Once again I am not criticizing the idea. All I’m saying is that as a white employed immigrant, who had it easy most of his life and clearly has no idea what escaping war zone is (I actually visited Syria few years ago, but it was stable-ish at the time) mixing diapers, cleaning products and beds with trivial non-essentials waters down the significance of this project.

        1. I’m assuming “gift giving” is not your love language. While yes, this charity’s main purpose is to provide refugees with necessities, it is also acting as a bridge between the existing community and these families that probably feel like outsiders. It’s a way for us to welcome them, and show our support. Giving gifts is one way to do that. I’m sure there are teen girls out there who love nail polish and beauty products. Giving that sort of gift to another girl, perhaps their own age, is such a wonderful way for them to relate to a refugee, and show that they care. If that teachable opportunity also benefits someone from a war-torn country then all the better! I’m glad this charity has given Emily the opportunity to gift items that were thoughtfully selected for her business. Now she has a stronger connection to these families than if she had just written a check. The same can be true for us. Chances are, people will be drawn to items that they think will be extra special, and particularly meaningful to that family.

    8. These “beauty” items are also about maintaining one’s dignity. If your whole life in the last few years has been about survival, hardship and reliance on strangers for necessities of life, this can be extremely demoralising and can feel very undignified. Making yourself look beautiful with a nail polish, a lipstick or a piece of jewellery, can make wonders for one’s self-esteem. During the war in Sarajevo, my home town, women would go out of their way to look nice, to wear nice clothing and make their hair up, or wear makeup. Even when running from a sniper or going to wait in line for bread. This meant they still had control over their bodies and themselves, over how they felt about themselves, and that their dignity is not taken away with their freedom. It was a proverbial middle-finger to those that occupied them. Survival is not only about food and shelter.

      1. Thank you for this perspective, Miruska. As someone who’s never been even close to a war, I have no idea what people do for survival; however the picture of these women tending to their beauty among the rubble is both heartbreaking and encouraging.

    9. One of the things that really stuck with me from “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” is the little things that Francie’s parents do to help keep the kids’ spirits up despite their pretty destitute situation. I often think about it when the argument about essentials vs nice to haves comes up.This quote summarizes it: “Francie is entitled to one cup each meal like the rest. If it makes her feel better to throw it way rather than to drink it, all right. I think it’s good that people like us can waste something once in a while and get the feeling of how it would be have lots of money and not have to worry about scrounging.”

    10. Being European myself, I don’t agree with you. For as many people as there are who want to help, there are as many people who abuse the system or do the crime. When it comes to Eastern Europe specifically, refugees didn’t want to stay there, because it’s too poor of a country for their wants. They also didn’t want to learn the Polish language or assymilate. For most of them, Poland was just a stopover, they left to countries where they can get lots of economic benefits without the need to work. And so the majority prefer to be in England, Sweden, France or Germany in the neighborhoods occupied by people like themselves and not like Europeans. Ask those in Swedish ghettos why they don’t like to assimilate, and they’ll tell you that they find the white culture boring.
      Then on the topic of the US, refugees go to Europe, often times without documentation. Those who go to Canada or USA, are those who are screened many many times over. Of course I support those who come to the US. They are good family oriented people. Why can’t anyone see a difference? There are many good people, but there are also many people who don’t want to assimilate, who don’t respect women. And being a feminist, I will not support anyone who wants to abuse 50% of the population. I love to see the families and I’d love to help more families. But I’m not quite happy about helping 25-35-year-old men who left their country their mothers and sisters (instead of fighting and defending it) for economic reasons.

      Sorry about bringing this on, but there’s always two sides to a story. Why can’t we connect together and talk about the real issues, and solving the real problems, as opposed to being blind to the other side of the story? It’s always either bad or good, instead of:there are many different people involved and we need to help the good ones but not everyone who wants to abuse our systems or us.

      1. Tara, I’m wondering as I read your comment whether you actually KNOW or have actually interacted with a refugee family? You seem to be painting with a very broad brush here. You claim they don’t want to work, hate western culture, don’t want to assimilate and oppress women. This is a lot of uninformed stereotypes to have. I have worked with refugees from Cuba, Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the like and one thing that I can tell you confidently is that no matter the country of origin, all refugees are grateful to be where they are and determined to succeed (I think you’re overlooking the fact that just taking care of their immediate family is not enough. Often, families who have been able to resettle in the West are also sending whatever money they can back home to family who can’t leave so this is actually double incentive to work). Since their countries are so different to ours, of course their cultures are different to. You can not expect everyone to have the ideas of feminism that you have as a woman from a western country. But that is not saying that they oppress women. It is a far, far leap you are making from one to another. Please educate yourself and work face to face with these families you think you know. It will change your life.

        PS. The irony of a Polish person claiming that immigrants just want to leave to go to other parts of Europe and not assimilate is just too much. Are you aware of how many Poles live in UK? Do you think it’s fair that the British have a stereotype about people of your nationality? In fact, the same stereotypes you seem to have about these refugees?

      2. I don’t think there is two sides to the stories of these families. Children and their parents need help – many of us long to give. While many, many political, social and economic issues are complicated this one is not.

        And thanks for all your comments regarding the small luxuries. i actually called Miry on Monday as i was going through the list as a user/donater myself and asked her about those things. Its not that I thought that they were bad that they were on the list its just that I wanted to donate more of the necessities or books/toys for the kids. She walked me through the rational (many of which have already pointed out) that a small luxury can make the mom of 5 so happy. She also said that many of the families had 15 pages of basic needs on there, but already were purchased or the toys/basics were on page 6 or 7 of the list, so she scrambled to reorder the list so that their basics were filled first. It could be that so many people purchased/donated that those items are no longer showing up and these smaller luxuries (earrings) are. Trying to relate to that mom’s the joy of getting a new pair of earrings is both possible and yet impossible. The kids need diapers and toys but no one is working harder emotionally and physically then those moms. I wish that ‘spa day’ was on there, too. In fact maybe i’ll reach out to soothe.com and see if they can help.

        Thanks, everyone for chiming in, supporting, commenting and of course helping. xx

      3. I totally agree with you Tara! And let’s not forget, our European social systems are not made for this insanity. They are based on solidarity and the hard work of our fellow countrymen.
        The islamisation of Europe is real and is threating everything we stand for. FFS, I want my country back!

        1. This is gross and has no place being in these comments, I wish I could flag this for removal.

          1. I agree. That’s legitimately an argument Hitler used in his efforts to wipe out Jews, Gypsies, Roma, and Slavs from Europe. Horrible to see people repeat it here.

          2. @B, Erin, Ani Come on, get a grip and get off your high horses. Muslims are not the “new jews”. With arguments like this you are downplaying the cruelties of the Nazi regime. You are hypocrites. What do you even know about the situation in Europe?
            Well, let’s see if this get’s through censorship….

        2. Tanja- What makes it your country? What gives you that entitlement? Can’t you see that if you were born in a different body, a baby to a Syrian woman, that you would want to preserve your life and dignity? Shame on you for hoarding your good fortune instead of being broken-hearted that the world is so unequal and unjust. Shame on you for believing that state borders delineate who gets to live and who doesn’t. You might be a hard worker, but there are hard workers everywhere. You cannot claim to have earned the centuries of privilege bestowed on you. You were just born in the right place at the right time.

          1. @Ani, B, Erin: Come on, get a grip and get off your high horses. Muslims are not the “new jews”. You are hypocrites. What do you even know about the situation in Europe?

      4. So, let me get this straight, 100 percent of Polish men respect women and defend their rights. The entire “native” population of Eastern Europe is made up of die hard feminists. 100 percent of Europeans are hard workers who never EVER take from the system. And, being civilized Christians you certainly follow the teachings of Christ on judging others and having compassion. (versus the barbarians who have the audacity to want to escape things like chlorine and sarin bombs). Got it.

    11. There’s this story that British soldiers brought lipsticks when they liberated concentration camps in WWII. It seems a weird thing to do but it made women feel human again.
      I found a more eloquent blog post on this: http://biblische.blogspot.co.at/2012/03/banksys-lipstick-creation.html

    12. This reminds me of a quote from the James Oppenheim poem about the Bread and Roses textile strike:
      “Hearts starve as well as bodies
      Give us bread, but give us roses”

  13. This is my most favorite post that you’ve ever written. Thank you for bringing goodness and assistance to these families.

  14. Thank you for taking time to share this story/these stories on your blog. I’m so happy that you are donating and making a difference and that we can all do the same!

  15. Thank you so much for highlighting this fantastic group. The groups of refugees coming to our country cross my mind frequently and I have often wanted a way to help where I could.

  16. Dear Emily and all your readers

    Your story of Mira is wonderful, I’d like to share a story from Toronto, where I live. In the winter of 2016 a large number of Syrian refugees arrived in a very short time, many had to stay in hotels for months. A tiny restaurant in my neighbourhood, The Depanneur, came up with the ideas of donating its kitchen space, so the Syrian “newcomers” could meet, get to know each other, cook their own food, and take it home to their families. Initially the supplies were largely donated, and transportation was a big issue since most did not speak English and they were located all over the city.

    But once everyone got settled into the once-a-week routine, the Newcomers started making extra food and The Depanneur started taking online orders for take-out dinners every Thursday.

    In just over a year, the Newcomer’s kitchen is paying the women $15/hr, and is celebrated all over the country – and hopefully emulated.

    The Depanneur has demonstrated how easily we can look to the abundance we take for granted in our lives (a kitchen not being used during the day) and open our hearts to support others in need. https://thedepanneur.ca/newcomerkitchen/

    1. Wonderful people making a concrete difference. Thank you for sharing.

    2. Wow thank you for sharing this story! It moved me to tears.

    3. This is amazing, thank you for spotlighting it for us!

    4. That brought tears to my eyes. How lovely.

  17. Thank you Emily! I believe every little bit helps. xo

  18. Just purchased a gift for a family – so easy and straightforward to do through Amazon, and free shipping with Prime. Thank you for sharing!

  19. Thank you for sharing!

  20. Emily! Great post! It is such a great cause and I hope that it gets the donations it deserves. There is so much need in the world, it’s overwhelming!

  21. Yes! We’re about to unload a ton of great stuff from our home and my in-laws home. Perfect timing. Thank you so much, Emily and Miry.

  22. Thanks for this post, there’s always something people can do to help neighbours.
    Radios, TVs and computers are also good, as it helps refugees to learn English and therefore integrate more quickly.
    For anyone interested, I’m in the UK and arrange for donations to our local domestic violence refuges. It’s more difficult to donate time (as obviously the addresses are secret to most people) but non-perishable food and toiletries are always welcome. Try contacting a local refuge provider (I do it through our local council, where I work) and I’m sure any donations would be very welcome.

    1. Hi Victoria

      I’m also in the UK and would love to donate, can you share a link or let me know how I can find a local refuge provider?

      Thanks

  23. Thank you so much Emily, I have been moved to tears by this post. Such a great initiative and charity!

  24. Emily and team, thank you for sharing amazing posts like this that connect the work many of us do every day with ways to concretely and immediately help people. It’s so easy to feel helpless but this post makes that impossible now.

    Miry, bravo and THANK YOU for taking a stand and making a difference.

    Lastly, if any newcomers happen to read this, please know how welcome you are and how much I’m cheering for you and praying for your transition to go more smoothly. You inspire me.

  25. Thank you thank you for sharing this resource! <3

  26. To those asking for other ways to help: https://www.rescue.org/ is a great place to start to help refugees locally. I live in Atlanta and at my location, they are always looking for volunteers to help families adjust in some way – English lessons, babysitting, tutoring, arranging community dinners so the families can have social outreach, business/job mentoring, and they also accept furniture donation for refugee apartments. Catholic Charities also helps tremendously get refugee families private housing and fills their apartments with items like what are featured on Miry’s list. Last year when I donated a bathroom full of supplies, I also picked up a Welcome Home front door mat from Target since it was in the same section and I couldn’t resist the symbolism of the welcome mat. These families have been through so much, any items that makes their housing feel more like a home are tremendously important. Thank you for sharing!

  27. This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  28. Okay we need to have a cry warning on these posts, I am a mess! The Mom in the Alawad family fled Syria by foot, THREE WEEKS after giving birth?!?! Superhero. Thank you for bringing attention to this amazing organization. I too have been feeling helpless toward the situation, other than small donations, but this gives me hope that communities are surrounding these families and making them feel welcome in America, even while our government refuses. I can’t wait to support Miry as much as I can from Maryland, while looking for similar efforts locally. Thank you again, Emily, for all you are doing! xo

  29. Gawd Emily. You’re so great. God bless you. Thanks for this. So much. Xoxo

  30. I love this so much, thank you for sharing!

  31. This is brilliant! Thanks for sharing!

  32. thank you!! just donated. love wins!!!

  33. I LOVE THIS POST! Thank you for using your influence to make a difference for others in need. I love your blog even more if that’s possible!

  34. Awesome awesome awesome! Thanks for sharing. I just bought some kids books!

  35. Thank you for a truly beautiful and important post.
    I totally disagree with the person commenting on “frivolous items” like nail polish being included on a list. If spending a few dollars on a ‘luxury’ item with help someone forget for a moment the horrors they have endured and help remind them of the life they once had, then that is money I am happy to spend.
    Congratulations to all involved for setting this up, and to Emily for helping to get the message out.

  36. awesome post!!!!

  37. thanks, emily. this is great. i would be more inclined to contribute kids’ clothes, kitchen ware, english and vocational tutoring, groceries, medicare or medicaid assistance, however, than conservative women’s wear and cell phones for teenagers.

    1. You are of course entitled to your opinion and can contribute whatever you want. However, remember that many women (including those born and raised in the US) prefer conservative clothing. Also remember that cell phones are becoming necessities in this day and age. People need ways to communicate in an era with fewer and fewer landlines and pay phones, and a lot of people use their phones for internet access (applying for jobs, looking up information for schools, etc).

  38. Thank you so so much for sharing. Like many of us, I have been horrified as each day brings a fresh wave of horrifying news throughout the world. And after living abroad for several years, it is with great privilege that I am reminded of the day I found myself crying on the street after spending several hours searching, unsuccessfully, for q-tips. I cannot imagine what these brave souls have endured thus far and only wish each and every one the very best as we welcome them here.

  39. This is terrific; thanks for publicizing their work. I spent 6+ years working in Iraq and Afghanistan and just had a big party on Sunday to welcome 3 former colleagues who came to the US with their families and to thank Americans who have been helping them settle in. It takes such courage to leave everything behind and come to a place where you may not even speak the language.

    As I was looking at the lists, it occurred to me there is a great opportunity for engaged couples who already have a lot to ask their family and friends to buy for one of the families instead of creating a wedding registry. So many couples are combining two households and don’t need all new stuff. What a great way to celebrate the establishment of their new family; by helping another family get a new start!

  40. Emily thank you for this post! I’ve been looking for ways to help out, Miry’s list is such a great idea! It’s so inspiring to see successful people like you who are incredibly busy make it a priority to reach out and help in the community. I love it!

    If anyone is looking for more ways to help, there is a non-profit that is trying to purchase 800 goats for Syrian refugee families from the region recently attacked by chemical warfare who are living in the desert in Jordan. The goats help provide a sustainable source of nutrients and hydration for children (and families) in the area. It’s an amazing cause and they’re doing a push to have worldwide participation May 5-7th. You can donate money or buy a goat ($300), even the smallest amount is helpful! The site is http://www.gatherforgoats.com.

  41. I ❤️ This post. Thanks so much for bringing us legitimate opportunities to help.

  42. Thank you for this. I’ve been donating to the White Hat group in Syria for a while now and still feeling so helpless to do anything else. What a great post.

  43. This is so great! I am so glad there are people out there doing this for the refuges. Do you know if there are websites to help people in Alabama or the states around it like Georgia or Tennessee?

  44. Second Families (https://www.facebook.com/secondfamiliesdotnet/) is also doing this kind of work in California. I donate money to large organizations in which I leave, but when I’m feeling sad and helpless about the state of the world, there’s nothing quite like knowing that I am providing something directly to people who really need it.

  45. Well, I knew what I was getting in to when I clicked to read this post but yet, here we are, sobbing at my desk in the middle of the workday. THANK YOU for this post, I am sharing it with many in my life…

  46. Thank you for this post! You are awesome and so is Miry’s List. This is the America I know and love: good people helping other good people. A rising tide lifts all boats.

  47. Meanwhile for my job I have to create content for companies, often using major pieces of furniture just for a few days. Yesterday’s post was a great example, and after we shot that (6 weeks ago) it was my first chance to work with Miry of Miry’s List (more below) and donate the furniture to former refugee families in Los Angeles who arrive with nothing and literally sleep and eat on the floor.

  48. So happy to hear about this organization. Bravo Emily and Bravo Miry, we all need to be pointed to how to help. Thank You for highlighting such an important cause! I bookmarked Miry’s site and now plan to put my dollars to work helping these families. And looking forward to hearing about the graduate family!

  49. Check out Refugee Services of Texas. Some friends were involved with a Welcome Team for a family and lots of people helped by donating barely used furniture and buying items to stock an apartment. It also looks like they have Amazon/other online wishlists and registries for different areas in Texas.

  50. Sometimes everything in life just lines up perfectly. Like for many of you, the situation in Syria has been heartbreaking for me to watch/stand by and go along with my day. And the culture of fear and rejection around immigrants from certain parts of the world will not be my personal or our family culture.

  51. I know that there are a lot of other programs in different cities, doing something similar or different, so if you guys have any please leave them in the comments so that they get some exposure as well