In the summer of 2006 the Middle East was ravaged with war between politicians and factions in which innocent civilians paid the deadliest price. The images of maimed children, dying youth and pain stricken eyes not only moved me, but it shook me. It quaked my soul and threw my body into a spiral of grief that I refused to allow to continue. A group of students who were as stubborn as I was to make a change came together to try and plan a benefit concert at NYU. The concert wasn’t the most successful, but I couldn’t accept failure. Failure wasn’t an option— I manifested my guilt in failing and used all my energy to organize a fundraiser of sorts through the help of Life for Relief and Development. I asked my local ISCJ to provide a room to collect donations. ISCJ made announcements to its congregation asking for non-perishable foods, new or like new clothes, first aid supplied, diapers, feminine products and other necessary needs refugees and the wounded could use to rebuild their everyday lives. I also advertised online and emailed local houses of worship from every religion. We received so many donations in the room we were storing them in that the piles were taller than any of us. I enlisted some 20 volunteers to organize, label and load the products onto a 18-wheeler flatbed tractor trailer container. We filled the entire container. The boxes that Life for Relief and Development weren’t enough. My family went out and bought more boxes out of pocket. We even had products that we couldn’t fit in the container because the container was at capacity. Those products we then chose to donate to local charity bodies suggested by the ISCJ.
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This organization is right where the help is most needed and acting fast when emergency strikes. Information and feedback, update and ongoing support, are just some of many highlights of LIFE for Relief and Development.