Club hosts toy and clothes drive for refugees this Saturday


Photo provided by Laila Fahed

Arabic club members and club sponsor meet to handle the logistics for the toy and clothes drive.

Iman Suleman, Reporter

The Arabic Club has planned a Toy and Clothes Drive for this Saturday on Dec. 19. The drive is a volunteer event where people donate lightly used items such as clothes, toiletries, toys, and canned foods. The donations will be given to The Alliance, a nonprofit organization that helps refugees, immigrants, and underserved citizens improve their way of life.

The event will take place from 12 – 4 p.m., and donations will be collected outside the Circle Drive on Maple Street outside of Bellaire High School. Volunteers will receive NHS service hours.

The Toy and Clothes Drive has been in the works for a while and COVID-19 has affected their original plans.

“We’ve been planning it since March,” event co-planner Omar Busaidy said. “But we wanted to make sure that all the details were figured out before we just rushed into a project that was in a pandemic.”

Omar Busaidy, along with his co-planner and club president Laila Fahed, came up with a process to make sure that event would be safe.

“I contacted Miss Campbell, and she kind of told me it would be okay to do a drive thru outside,” Fahed said. “So that’s kind of what we landed on. We’re just gonna do masks, gloves, social distancing, and we’re going to sanitize everything we get.”

“First making sure people are okay with volunteering, because I know a lot of people are scared,” Busaidy said. “We’re doing six volunteers. We’re just going to have people drive up to the U drive. And then we can take the stuff out of their boots so we don’t have to interact with them.”

“We’re going to collect all this stuff, leave it in a room for about a week,” Fahed said, “and sanitize it, so like any potential germs would go away, and then we’re going to drop it off at the Alliance where they’ll hand it out to the refugees who need it.”

Refugees have been hit as hard, if not harder, by the coronavirus pandemic than the rest of the world. With no government to protect them or homes to go to, many immigrants and underserved citizens will not be celebrating the holidays this year.

“The refugees and immigrants that are with the Alliance right now,” Fahed said. “they have been having trouble affording things and finding jobs and looking for work. And they can’t really give their kids a holiday experience. So we wanted to have this event just to help him out a little bit as much as we can.”

“We think it’s important because the pandemic has hurt a lot of people,” Busaidy said. “especially refugees, who have a hard time finding jobs, but also because the holidays are coming. And we want to make sure that kids have toys and enjoy the holidays during this dark time. I know I’m definitely going to be donating a lot of stuff, because I have a closet full of clothes that I haven’t been wearing.”

The Arabic Club hopes for a large amount of items collected and wishes to make a big impact in their community as well as for refugees.

“Honestly I feel like the bigger impact rather than the clothes and toys is showing everybody that you can still do something during the pandemic while still being safe,” Busaidy said. “Because if everybody pitched in and did something for that community, even during a pandemic, I think our world would be a better place.”

Anyone interested in volunteering or any other volunteering opportunities can contact the Arabic Club through their Instagram.