We stand for refugee success

At the Open Air Market at Phoenix Public Market, we’re all about helping our community. We help farmers and local businesses get their products to the masses and we help the people of our local community by providing a place where they can easily access those local farmers and businesses to support them. As a nonprofit organization ourselves, we’d like to take a moment to highlight another nonprofit organization we work with that’s making an incredible impact right here in our community as well as around the globe.

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At the weekly Saturday market we certainly have a wide-ranging group of vendors with an even greater variety of food items and other products to choose from. However, what you might not know, is that shoppers at the market can find a combination of vendors from places like Tunisia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Liberia. These are people and families who were displaced from their homes and put into refugee camps due to hazardous threats of warring nations.

Luckily, thanks to the International Rescue Committee, these families were able to go from living near a war zone to selling handmade or homegrown items that honor their heritage. Without their representation, the community of Downtown Phoenix would be less informed not only about the cultures of these nations, but also less informed about refugees. Thanks to the IRC program, these refugees are able to make a respectable living in America and help remind us of their importance in our culture.

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The Golos, for instance, graduated from the IRC program after fleeing their burned-down Liberian town and went on to own 11 acres of farming land in Litchfield Park. Now, they harvest multiple types of leafy greens, tomatoes, onions, garlic, a variety of citrus, and seasonal treasures such as figs and eggplant to sell each Saturday.

The Al Hamka family recently started working on online marketing, as they’ve already developed a strong following just selling their staples every Saturday at Phoenix Public Market: Iraqi flatbread, hummus, falafel, and signature Al Hamka cucumbers grown with seeds brought from Iraq.

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Every time a patron leaves the market with a hand adorned in henna or starts their Saturday with a few Makroudh, the success of the IRC program shows its value to our community. Every time one of the Syrian mothers brings her son to help tend the table, the IRC program boasts its long-lasting benefits. Every time a farmer introduces a new crop or business strategy during slower months, the IRC program illustrates the scope of farmers market success.

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So a huge thank-you to the International Rescue Committee for all the work they do around the globe and all of the lives they’re able to touch! You can support these families every Saturday at the market, but there are also measures you can take to help more families in need by supporting the IRC directly.

1. Volunteer

The IRC offers a host of volunteer programs to get you involved with what they do. They change all the time, but you’ll find postings from becoming a volunteer photographer or graphic designer to being a refugee mentor or tutor. There are plenty of ways to get involved – see what opportunities are available near you!

2. Make a Donation

Nonprofit organizations are always looking for donations! Often, these types of organizations are run on donations alone, so without them they wouldn’t be able to survive. No matter how big or small of a donation you make, it’s always being put towards a great cause to make a positive impact on the world – that’s something you can feel good about!

3. Host a Fundraiser

If there aren’t any attractive volunteer opportunities near you, and you’d like to make a bigger financial impact than any donation you’d be able to make on you own, consider hosting a fundraiser of your own and donating the proceeds to IRC! It might sound like a difficult task, but hosting a fundraiser has become pretty easy with all the fundraiser event planning tools available to us. You could do a bottle and can drive, host a charity golf tournament, or just have a simple car wash – you can turn just about anything into a fundraiser!

We’re happy to be able to be a part of the work the IRC does and support those who are able to help bring individuals up from refugee camps. We hope you are inspired to do the same!

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