Helping refugees in Hampton Roads with food for Ramadan

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — You probably know there is a refugee crisis happening in the world.

What you may not know is that dozens of refugee families are now living in Hampton Roads. A Norfolk woman became aware of their plight and turned to social media to rally her friends and neighbors to help.

Lisa Suhay organized a food drive and is now looking for help to package and deliver items ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

10 On Your side met with Suhay at the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, where her efforts to help refugees are coming together. She explained how the whole thing started when the local author met two refugees whose own stories touched her.

“I wanted to bring some of my children’s books to the kids there and just give them out.”

Her heart went out in the process.

“I saw kids playing with the world’s worst looking soccer ball and shot a little video and put it on Facebook and said, I think we can do better than this.'”

Through her Facebook page RefugeeHelpers757, word got out and help poured in.

“We went from a better soccer ball, to a better job, to a better way to speak the language, to now we’re going with a better way to put food on the table.”

The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia is teaming up with the Peninsula Foodbank to help  make it happen.

“If somebody brings a need to us, we want to step in and figure out how we can be a part of meeting that need,” said Tom Weiglein with the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia.

They are focused on getting this food to the refugees for Ramadan — A time of fasting, then feasting, as described by Imam Rachid Khould, whose Virginia Beach mosque donated 3,100 pounds of food.

“I think I’m confident this will bring some peace and happiness into their hearts.”

He will be helping with distribution in Newport News on Saturday. They need more help with that and with packing boxes. If you would like to help just come out to the Foodbank in Norfolk at 800 Tidewater Drive between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. or 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Thursday.