Shaddy Makhlouf’s story about helping an organization in Bethlehem, with the help of Land of Peace.

In the summer of 2018, I went on a trip with my family to visit relatives in the Holy Land. While we were there, we took a day trip to Bethlehem to tour the church and see the holy sites. As I was walking, I started talking to a young boy who had a mental disability that he’d been living with for his whole life. I later found out that due to insufficient medical care in the area, he wasn’t able to get the proper care, and ended up with this disability. This really moved me, and I kept thinking that this could have been easily preventable if they had the medical care that I enjoy in the United States.

Once I returned home, I was inspired to raise money for the disabled in the Holy Land and started planning what I would do. I first reached out to Land of Peace, who had been fundraising at my church that month, to see if they would be able to guide my fundraiser. Then I talked to members of my community to come up with a plan for how we would conduct the fundraiser. After some brainstorming, I decided it would be best to host a Middle Eastern dinner at church, followed by a raffle and a movie. Land of Peace supplied olive wood sculptures for the raffle, and the plan was set. After speaking at church services to raise awareness for the fundraiser, we had a beautiful turnout, as many people were eager to give to the cause.

Now that the money had been raised, my contact at Land of Peace reached out to me to see if I would want to tour some of the organizations that I had fundraised for. We were both planning on being in the Holy Land that summer, and I was very eager to see for myself the difference that we could make. In July, I took a day out of my trip to go to Bethlehem and visit three organizations that helped disabled children in the area. It was really moving to see the work that was being done, and I was able to get to know many of the volunteers and patients at different organizations.

The whole experience was truly fulfilling, to be able to gather a community and help people in need on the other side of the world. The guidance that I received from Land of Peace throughout the fundraiser was vital to its success, and their connections to the organizations in Bethlehem enabled me to find a cause that I wholeheartedly supported in order to truly make a difference.

– Shaddy Makhlouf, High School Junior

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