“If it wasn’t for the food vouchers, I couldn’t manage in my day-to-day life,” says Fareed, whose family receives food vouchers from CRP. “The food voucher filled a large gap in our nutrition. We rely on it.”

Haifaa’s daughter, like the rest of her family, relies on CRP’s food vouchers.

Most refugees in Amman cannot legally work. Many refugees receive a small amount of monthly assistance from the UNHCR, but it typically isn’t enough to live on. Amman’s cost of living is high, and money from the UNHCR often only covers rent, leaving little for food and other basic needs.

Arriving in Amman from Syria, Haifaa struggled to feed her family. She and her husband worried about their four daughters’ nutrition. With CRP’s food vouchers, Haifaa feels more secure. “The voucher is really helpful. We pay the rent with the UNHCR monthly assistance, and I buy food with the food voucher. If it wasn’t for the food voucher, things would have been very difficult,” she says. “We would be mainly eating rice, pasta, and bulgur . . . with the voucher, we can at least get milk and cheese.”

Fareed fled to Amman from Iraq. He relies on CRP’s food vouchers to feed his family.

Once refugees apply for basic-needs assistance, CRP visits them and evaluates their level of need. Those with the highest need receive monthly food vouchers, while others receive a voucher every few months. Recipients can use their vouchers at grocery stores in our neighborhood of Hashemi Shamali. They can buy whatever food they choose—we want voucher recipients to have a choice in what they buy.

CRP applies rigorous standards to determine the neediest families. After a family registers at CRP, we send a team of two of our local staff members to visit them in their home. We always send one male and one female, and one Syrian and one Iraqi, in order to ensure there is no bias in the assessment.

Crowds waiting at a monthly food-voucher distribution.

Food vouchers give refugees the money they need to buy nutritious food. With little to spare on groceries, many refugees rely on nutrient-poor foods like rice and pasta. Especially for children, this lack of nutrients can cause major health problems. CRP’s food vouchers enable refugees to purchase higher-quality food for their families. Fareed now buys healthier food with CRP’s vouchers, and manages to “eat some sort of meat or chicken once every two weeks.” That still isn’t as often as he’d like, but he’s glad his son receives better nutrition than he otherwise would have.

CRP doesn’t restrict its basic-needs assistance to food vouchers—we also provide winter coats, and back-to-school supplies, among other things. But our food-voucher program is the cornerstone of Basic-Needs Assistance. Without it, many refugees would struggle to eat, and nutritious food would be out of the question.

We serve hundreds of families at each distribution. This month, 812 people received monthly vouchers, and hundreds more have received additional vouchers.

Programs like food vouchers depend on your donations. Please, support CRP here.