I was 12 the first time my family received a food box. Something felt bizarre about seeing a stranger give us food.

I was born in a humble family, but I did not really realize it much because I was raised to be grateful for what I have. The second time my family received a food box, a hard reality came crawling in my young mind: Are we poor now? And it was not about not getting the toys I wanted, it was more about being able to eat every day. A few weeks after, I heard my father tell my mother that he could not bring food home that day; and this is when it hit me very hard: we weren’t going poor; this had nothing to do with poverty but had everything to do with helplessness.

Can you imagine a father having the guts to say to his family: “I am sorry, but I cannot feed you today”?

I never really recovered from what I heard on that day, or from what my father must have felt when he said something like this.

We kept on received food boxes for almost a year, and I always felt grateful that we were still eating; but at the same time, I also felt helpless that my livelihood is connected to someone else’s generosity.

Today, after 22 years, I have a job and I am able to eat and feed my family, to which I am beyond grateful.

When the Corona Virus pandemic started creeping up on the world, the first thing I felt was insecurity. But this time it wasn’t only me. It was every person who had to sit in lockdown without a job, food security or without a clear idea on when things will get better.

Many LGBTIQ people are feeling helpless today; many are left without food or income, receiving frustrating health news by the hour, living in uncertainty and unable to ease the lockdown they are forced to going through.

I am currently volunteering with Tayf to help fund and deliver food boxes for LGBTIQ people all over Lebanon. One would think that it is a relief to be donating food boxes and not asking for them, but believe me, it feels just as helpless to be on the giving end of a food box as on the other side of it, especially when what we have is less than what we are asked for. It is as frustrating to feel that we are not doing enough. For me personally, it could have been frustrating because of this internal need I have to give more, because one day, I was on the receiving end of a food box, I was the one who needed food and I know how helpless it feels.

It takes a lot of courage for someone to call a support line, to which a stranger is answering, and ask for help, whether it was a food box, mental health or emotional support, suicide prevention support or simply seeking someone to talk to. I am writing this to tell those who called, or who are yet to call, that they are not helpless, they are not alone. These times are unjust to most people.

#IDAHOBIT this year resonates with Breaking the Silence. This year, I am breaking the silence to ask those who need any kind of help to come forth and ask for it. Reaching out for help is nothing but courageous, and especially in these times that we, as a community, must show the utmost solidarity.

The lockdown, COVID-19 and the economic crisis in Lebanon have left many LGBTIQ in need of food, sanitation products and masks to protect themselves from the disease ravaging the world. Many are confined with families, friends or even strangers where they cannot be themselves, where they have to “tone down” their feelings, just to survive the lockdown.

A short survey conducted in Lebanon showed that 62% of LGBTIQ need mental health support, around 30% require healthcare or medical consultations and almost 20% don’t have regular access to necessary food to support their overall health, and in some cases to support their HIV medication.

I just want to thank the only community who was ready to help during these difficult times. After searching everywhere for help among politicians and religious people, the only community who was humane with us was the LGBT community.
Special thanks to Tayf Beirut and the Arab Foundation For Freedoms and Equality.


I want to thank all who contributed to deliver this food box, especially that those who delivered it did so with all respect and a lot of smiles. My sister and I are grateful for this initiative that lightens the burden of people in these difficult times.
I am very happy and grateful.

Thank you so much ❤ it was a lot more than I expected. I really appreciate the help.

If you would like to support, here is how you can donate to food, sanitation or mental health support offered by Tayf:

To donate from Lebanon:

Please contact +961-3-631 044

To donate from Outside Lebanon:

In Euros

Arab Foundation For Freedoms and Equality

Lebanon, Beirut, Achrafieh, Paraguay St, Haykal Blg, Fl 3 & 4

Bank Name and Branch: Credit Libanais (Sassine Branch Achrafieh, Beirut – Lebanon)

Swift code: CLIBLBBX

Account Number: 0043334883006

IBAN: LB72 0053 00CA EUR0 0433 3488 3006

In Dollars

Arab Foundation For Freedoms and Equality

Lebanon, Beirut, Achrafieh, Paraguay St, Haykal Blg, Fl 3 & 4

Bank Name and Branch: Credit Libanais (Sassine Branch Achrafieh, Beirut – Lebanon)

Swift code: CLIBLBBX

Account Number: 0043334883001

IBAN: LB72 0053 00CA EUR0 0433 3488 3001

Numbers Until today

165 food boxes delivered

Reaching over 350 people

155 sanitation boxes delivered

Ages 18 – 63

 

Donated by individuals:

18 people

2,420,000 L L

 

Donated by Marsa

3,100,000 L L

 

20 People who received mental health support

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