Sara’s family loves to cook dinner together.

“It’s a good time,” she said. “One of us will prepare the salad, and another cooks while someone else prepares the table. It’s our family’s time to talk and laugh.”

Every dish doesn’t turn out perfect, but Sara said that’s just part of the cooking process.

“If they notice that I make a mistake, I’ll just say ‘this is actually a French dish, what do you know about it,’” she said, laughing.

Dinner should be a fun time for families, but for all too many refugees, it’s only a source of stress. It’s difficult to afford food when you aren’t allowed to work, and many find it demoralizing to accept meals from friends or neighbors.

CRP distributes food vouchers several times a month to prevent hunger and malnutrition among our beneficiaries. These vouchers also allow families to regain a sense of normalcy, as they can shop for groceries on their own and pick the items that best fit their individual needs.

As part of the CRP team, Sara said she knows the food voucher program is crucial for many refugees.

“They need it because they are not working and they don’t have enough money for food,” she said. “Some have kids and these kids eat a lot. As a mom, I know that kids want to eat all the time.”

In addition to food vouchers, CRP also gives children an extra nutritious boost by providing healthy snacks during several youth programs, like SuperGirls and the After-School Club.

“That can make a huge difference,” said Sara, explaining that each snack includes a glass of milk and a piece of fresh fruit. “Healthy foods can be expensive and for a family of five, that can cost a lot. But at least the kids get fresh fruit a few times a week at CRP. And the kids love it. They always ask us when they can get their snacks.”

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Want to try Safiha, one of Sara’s favorite Syrian dishes? Follow the recipe below!

Ingredients for 9 mini meat pies

Dough, 2 egg whites, 1-2 chopped onions, 18 ounces of ground lamb or beef, ¾ cup of plain yogurt, 3 tablespoons pomegranate concentrate, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika, salt and pepper to taste, ⅓ cup chopped walnuts, 2 tablespoons tomato paste


Cut the dough into 9 pieces and roll into thin 7 inch circles. Place the circular pieces of dough onto oiled baking sheets and brush the top with egg whites. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Remove from oven, turn over, and brush the other side with egg whites. Place back in oven and cook for another 8 minutes. Remove and let cool.

In a separate bowl, mix the chopped onions, ground meat, yogurt, pomegranate, spices, chopped walnuts, and tomato paste. Work these ingredients into a soft paste, then spread the mixture evenly onto each pastry.

Place the pies back into the oven and cook for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Serve hot.