“Aamer Syed will host a breakfast fundraiser for The Citizens Foundation, USA, at his Montville home in September, one of several planned across North Jersey to support victims of devastating floods in Pakistan.
The nonprofit’s North Jersey chapter was initially going to host a lavish gala at the Hilton in Parsippany, but decided to postpone the annual event and instead focus on an urgent flood relief campaign.
“It was a tough decision to make,” said Syed, the chapter co-president. “Our galas are extensive and nice, but we felt this is not the time to celebrate anything. People are dying and hurting, and people are in a bad stage right now.”
Across New Jersey, Pakistani Americans are mobilizing to support families in the South Asian country, where record rains, fueled by climate change, sent torrents of rainwater and glacier melt gushing through streets, leaving a third of Pakistan underwater. The floods have killed more than 1,300 people and at least 6.4 million people are in dire need of humanitarian aid, according to the UN.
They are hosting donation drives for organizations such as Helping Hand for Relief and Development and Islamic Relief USA and collecting clothing, bedding and hygiene products at local mosques, including Dar-ul-Islah in Teaneck, to be shipped abroad. In many cases, they are getting the word out on social media pages and WhatsApp groups.
Others are supporting a flood appeal by The Citizens Foundation, USA, an education-focused nonprofit that has funded the construction of 1,833 schools that have served 280,000 students since 1995.
TCF’s flood relief appeal will pay for 1 million meals for communities around the schools, for the reconstruction of homes for 5,000 families, and for rebuilding or repairing damaged schools.
The schools are located in slums and rural areas to provide educational opportunities to underprivileged families, said Mahwash Khan, TCF-USA marketing director. Families pay between 18 cents and $3 a month, a sliding-scale fee that is meant to get parents involved and “buy into the process,” she said.
“I’ve been in these areas,” Syed said. ‘I know people affected are not people who can sustain damages like this. They need a lot of help right now.'”
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