by Kiran Ansari
Over 1000 toys. 300 attendees. 50 volunteers. 1 community event.
When Amina Saeed’s three children told her what they would like for Eid, she made sure they bought the same toys for refugee children. By participating in the July 11 toy drive hosted by Refugee Assistance Programs, Saeed applied the verse of the Quran that says one can never attain piety until he gives out of what he loves.
Ayisha Sami was thinking along the same lines when she came to volunteer at the fun fair armed with several boxes of Build A Bear animals stuffed with love. Her sons were enthusiastic to run the various games that young – and young at heart – enjoyed.
Habiba Hanif asked her parents to accompany her to the fun fair so that they could watch her young children while she volunteered at the food stalls.
These are just a few examples of how the community came together to make the first RAP Fun Fair an event that engaged the entire family. From the Dads that helped load boxes to the Moms that sold cupcakes, the teens that manned game stations and the younger ones that helped wrap 900 gifts for refugee children that will be celebrating their first Eid in the United States.
“Most refugee families flee warn torn countries with nothing more than the clothes on their back,” said Naazish YarKhan, who founded RAP in 2006. “RAP provides wings not crutches to refugees to help re-build their lives by helping them acquire the requirements they need to become truck drivers, medical assistants, seamstresses so that they can live with dignity.”
While RAP has collected Eid toys in the past, the fun fair gave the community a chance to get together before Ramadan began, have fun and provide the children with a hands-on way to help the less fortunate. RAP also sponsored 80 refugee children to attend the event free of cost and hopes that more will show up next year.
Lessons in sharing, gratitude and teamwork were just a few highlights of the day. Attendees came from a wide array of ethnicities, age groups and towns. Some drove close to an hour to support the cause.
“The funfair was awesome,” said Hana Rasul, 7. “I loved decorating Eid cards, getting henna, eating pizza and playing the noisy game with the hammer.”
As the gym was bustling with people, Saaema Alavi summed it up perfectly.
“Thank you for allowing us to be a part of the RAP fun fair. You could feel the positive energy and barakah in the air.”