DALLAS — Hala Halabi always looks forward to the distribution drives in the days and weeks leading up to the holidays. As a part of ICNA-Relief USA Islamic Circle of North America, she focuses her attention on refugees who arrive in North Texas. This year, however, is different. The pandemic has made it difficult to pull off activities and offer services to these underserved communities.
"This is our home, this is our responsibility," Halabi said.
This year Halabi and more than 25 volunteers visited The Link Apartments in Dallas along Forest Springs Drive for a drive-thru distribution drive. They served the many cars wrapped around the street that had secured their spots in line an hour before the distribution began.
"The line was crazy from all the way around. Within 25 minutes we served about 500 people," she said.
A lot of the families in this Dallas apartment complex and those in line on Wednesday are refugees from outside countries now living the American dream. And, what they were being handed are some of their first-ever Thanksgiving meals.
"Thank you. I highly appreciate you guys," said one recipient.
Recipients were handed turkey, chicken, other food items, along with basic necessities like blankets, diapers and masks.
"We want people to feel like we are here for them," she said.
The pandemic has hit refugees hard; an already isolated group now feels even more isolated. Halabi reminds us that the refugee population has been incredibly fearful of COVID-19. She said that many families have not met with family and friends in months.
But on Wednesday, volunteers who willingly gave through masked smiles and cheerful greetings were the friends and family the refugee families were longing for.
ICNA Relief USA intends to hold another distribution drive in the early part of December.