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Treating Crisis with Bread and Training

Against Syrian bloodshed, “Khsa Al-Joua’” is saving people’s lives, first with food and now with emergency training. Launched in Damascus this March by the Saeed Group as a volunteer drive to feed the poor and displaced, the initiative spread quickly over online social networks and reached Lattakia in July, where volunteers continue to distribute staples to the needy, regardless of their politics.

Issam Hbal, founder of Khsa Al-Joua’s Damascus chapter, explained that “over time this initiative became bigger,” attracting people of all ages and backgrounds to donate time and food. In Damascus during Ramadan, volunteers handed out over 10,000 meals daily, while in Lattakia, the number topped 2,450, with all meals prepared by volunteers who coordinated with local authorities to distribute them. Since then, distribution has shifted to whatever grains and sugar donors provide, with the Damascus branch offering new courses in First Aid, civil defense, and disaster preparedness.

For more info – Khsa Al-Joua

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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