Building Community Connections through Service
By Haya Farooqui
Above: Haya Farooqui, Fizza Ashary, Deborah Levy (Executive Director RM
HOUSE), Cheri Bazley (Director of Operations), Samira Saleh, members of APSOC
delivering the non-perishable food items at Ronald McDonald House
Irvine, California Haya@sbcglobal.net Thanksgiving and Eid ul Adha are both important holidays that are celebrated with great respect and dedication. Although, the history of the two holidays is very different yet both bear a lot of similarities - they send out the same message and both originated out of a culture of gratitude - expressing thanks and giving sacrifice are the two important key phrases for the two celebrations.
As both these holidays this year were falling a day apart from each other the American Pakistani Society of Orange County wanted to avail of this opportunity to converge the essence of both holidays by integrating them into a food drive for a local charity.
American Pakistani Society of Orange County or APSOC came into being last year when a few friends got together in Irvine for tea after the results of the elections for Irvine Council 2008 were announced on a local channel they mentioned the participation of all communities living in Irvine except the Pakistani community.
This announcement was an eyeopener for the Pakistani community as the media didn't even consider the Pakistani community important enough to be mentioned in the news despite the fact that several Pakistanis living in Irvine had held grand fundraisers at their residence for the Mayor and Council members.
Was it because the Pakistanis lack substance or are they not educated enough or are they not resourceful enough? In fact, they have all these qualities but the three important things Pakistanis lack in are unity, cohesion and organization.
These three things are the key to get recognition. These are the things that separate them from other communities.
Individually they all excel in their respective fields but as a community they have failed to gain the momentum like the Indians, Koreans and Persians.
Thus, APSOC came into being with a mission: to represent the Americans who are of Pakistani origin and are committed to promoting understanding and respect through positive representation, participation and integration into mainstream America.
APSOC is a non-profit, non-sectarian, non-partisan organization, dedicated to: 1.Creating active support for our local community 2.Preserving and stimulating intercultural values through Art and culturally diverse events.
3.Creating a nurturing, stable family environment by integrating all
religions, races, and ethnic groups in order to attain a global perspective.
4.Earning and promoting positive understanding and respect for our heritage through active support and participation in our American way of life.
We have to understand that the USA is our adopted country - a country that we have chosen to live in, bring up our families in - we have to give back to this country too because it has given us the shelter, freedom and resources to fulfill our dreams.
It has been more than a month since one of our dear friends lost their ten-year old son to cancer and It was through their praises that Ronald McDonald House became a topic of discussion as to what an amazing work they are doing.
Members of APSOC decided to organize a Thanksgiving/Eid Food Drive for Ronald McDonald House Orange County as a humble way to thank them for taking such good care of the families of critically ill patients. This food drive attracted people from all over Southern California from Thousand Oaks to San Diego and people donated loads of nonperishable food driving hundreds of miles.
We have to remember on this Eid-Al-Adha, which is all about sacrifice, that sacrifice is not only about slaughtering an animal - it is a gesture that bestows us with the feeling
of pleasure from offering others things that are loved by us - this is not limited to material things only but even if one takes the time out of his/her busy schedule to help others, it is a big sacrifice! APSOC members have created this platform for the American Pakistani community to use it to their benefit to help others. Please check out APSOC on facebook and for further details write to firstname.lastname@example.org.