Be a humanitarian superhero: park politics

UNHCR Food Aid to GazaIsrael and Hamas agreed to a 12-hour ceasefire in Gaza yesterday, a brief respite from the escalating violence that is testing the capabilities of relief agencies already strained by four years of Syrian war and renewed battles in Iraq.  It’s a half day opportunity to park politics and take humanitarian action. Want to make a difference? Jump into some point and click compassion.

We’ve all been smacked around by recent news – regional events of increasing horror. Consider the plane crashes (over 700 dead in July alone); attacks at an Egyptian border crossing (killing 22 border guards) and a Yemeni gas pipeline (7 dead); Boko Haram bombings in Nigeria (80 murdered); ISIS assaults on Iraqi Christians (over 150 fatalities); and the incessant bloodbath of the Syrian war (170 killed last weekend).

No time to crawl under our covers. We are not powerless. Broadcasting our political POV via Hashtag tweets and Facebook postings may raise awareness among our personal followers, but when it comes to human aid (as we learned with our hats-for-Syrians drive) cash is king.  We can fight feelings of helplessness with money, and provide immediate help.

Getting assistance to Gaza has long been problematic, and food security has been a chronic headache due to years of blockade and restrictions on fishing and farming. Import of goods and money (thwarted by closed borders and the combined shenanigans of Hamas, Israel and Egypt) is left largely to international aid organizations.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) issued an appeal for emergency food supplies for the estimated 150,000 people displaced in the past 3 weeks.

Swift response came from two Jordanian organizations – Tkiyet Um Ali (TUA) and the Jordan Hasehmite Charity Organization (JHCO) who, together, provided 15,000 family food rations, which will enable UNRWA to feed 75,000 people for thirteen days. It’s a small dent in the growing mountain of need.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services and the agency, which is 97% reliant on voluntary contributions, runs a budget deficit of $69 million. You can pop some cash – now – to UNRWA, or several other non-political, non-religious aid agencies we’ve identified below.  Each makes it simple to donate, resulting in immediate aid at point of need.

UNRWA is providing trauma counseling, food, and emergency bedding.  Click here to help. 

TUA is accepting walk-up donations at their booths in Amman commercial centers including City Mall, City Mall Center, Carrefour City Mall, Safeway, Cosmo, Taj Mall, Mecca Mall, Galleria Mall, Sahara Mall – and in Irbid. Call +962 (0)6 4900900 for more information. Or click here for their English/Arabic website.

Not in Jordan? Donations can also be wired to:

Islamic International Arab Bank, Branch Gardens
Tkiyet Um Ali and Charitable Society for Voluntary Work
Account name: Tkiyet Um Ali
Account number: 1,010 / 000 188 -0/505

Medical Aid for Palestine delivers medical care working in partnership with local health providers and hospitals. Click here to help.

Awqaf (Islamic Affairs) Ministry for Gazan orphans (a/k/a Monsara) is a Jordan-based charity that seeks to fulfill essential needs of Gaza’s children. Click here to help.

Palestine Children’s Relief Fund has three offices and a field staff on the ground in Gaza identifying injured kids and providing them with critical medical care, and providing displaced families with urgent humanitarian aid. Click here to help.

This list is just a sampler of established agencies with proven experience in aid delivery.  Aware of others?  Please leave details in the comments section. Screw politics. Support people.

Image of UNRWA World Food Program trucks from Shutterstock

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2 thoughts on “Be a humanitarian superhero: park politics”

  1. Laurie Balbo says:

    Jared, please share details of groups providing aid to Israeli civilians and I’ll amend the story to promote them too. There’s no “political embracing” happening here – just a scarcity of information regarding Israeli aid organizations.

    I asked readers to provide info on other relief agencies (refer to last line of the story), as my list was limited to the few I uncovered after a day of online research. Your comment prompted me to search again today – for groups specifically dealing with Israeli civilians injured and homes or hospitals destroyed by the current conflict, this time finding an effort underway in New Jersey, USA, to – link here (

    Let me know names of other established aid delivery organizations with on-site teams providing services at point of conflict and I’ll add them ASAP to the story list. Thanks for the comment –

  2. Jared Goldfarb says:

    If you’re asking your readers to “screw politics – support people” it seems to me you should provide opportunities to support the victims on BOTH sides of this conflict. Regardless of one’s political leanings, sadly civilians on both sides of the border are suffering, and could use some humanitarian assistance. You’ve ironically embraced the political aspect of the war by only offering your readers the chance to help one side.

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