Iftar volunteers

Every year, Blake parent Susan Geller tries to attend an iftar—a meal taken by Muslims at sundown to break the daily fast during the month of Ramadan. “As a Jew, I often feel lonely as I walk around the world in the days around a holiday feeling its specialness when nobody around me seems to know it is a special time,” she says, “I feel so seen when someone acknowledges the holiday time for me, and it is something I am eager to give back to others.”

So Geller happily answered the call to volunteer at an iftar in Blake’s Dining Commons, hosted in partnership with Alight, a humanitarian assistance nonprofit that is helping families and individuals from Afghanistan settle into their new homes in Minnesota. She and 35 Blake community volunteers and staff members helped make possible an event that was “dignified, joyful and culturally relevant,” according to Alight Resettlement Response Volunteer Manager Sam Munassur, who added, “Two of Alight’s values are ‘Do the Doable’ and ‘Be Human-Centered,’ and I think each of you demonstrated those values together!”

In addition to a delicious meal, iftar attendees enjoyed time together—children played games and built Lego creations with volunteers so parents could savor the feast—and took in notes of welcome from the Middle School Service Club and other Blake community members and flower arrangements by Middle and Lower School students. At the end of the evening, guests were invited to take home artwork that the Blake community created during this year’s Legacy Day activities.

“I could tell the guests enjoyed the food and were grateful to have the lovely Dining Commons available to them to break their fasting with family and friends,” Blake parent and iftar volunteer Anita Lee says. “Many of them thanked me as they left the event. Even though some of them could not speak English, it was clear from the expressions on their faces that they really appreciated the dinner and the accommodations that Blake provided to honor their religious and cultural traditions.” 

Read more about this event in this article by Aala Abdullahi for the Sahan Journal and see photos by Marjan Samadi Photography.