PAAIA Chapters Give Back to the Community for Persian Thanks 2012

December 7, 2012, Washington, D.C.– This holiday season, our various PAAIA chapters throughout the country showed their appreciation for their blessings by giving back to their communities, making Persian Thanks 2012 a huge success. See how our different chapters helped their fellow Americans this Thanksgiving.

About Persian Thanks:

Persian Thanks is a PAAIA program that embraces American culture–Persian style. Starting in 2011, we began mobilizing PAAIA chapters nationwide to donate cash and take canned foods, clothing, and hygiene items to homeless shelters on Thanksgiving Day–or on any day during the week–and hope that “Persian Thanks Week” will become an Iranian American tradition. To do good as a community on this most American of American holidays is our way of showing that we are grateful to have a home away from our ancestral homeland, that we care, and that we want to share our cultural heritage with our fellow Americans.

Bay Area

The Bay Area saw two separate volunteer programs this Persian Thanks. Prior to Thanksgiving, a group of PAAIA volunteers organized and distributed food at the Samaritan House for an entire afternoon. The Samaritan House is a nonprofit agency dedicated to serving low income families and individuals in San Mateo County, California.

 After the Thanksgiving holiday, a separate group of volunteers in the southern Bay area donated food to InnVision & Shelter Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending homelessness. The food was generously donated by previous Persian Thanks contributor Café Pomegranate.


PAAIA Chicago has been holding a virtual food drive since Thanksgiving and will continue to do so the rest of the holiday season. The drive will benefit the Chicago Food Depository.  PAAIA Chicago will also be volunteering at the Chicago Food Depository at some point in the coming weeks, as they put an equal value on helping others in person.  To get more details about donating to the Chicago Food Depository or volunteering in person, please contact ChicagoChapter@


In the spirit of Thanksgiving, several Iranian American organizations joined hands to offer two opportunities to give back to Houstonians in need. The Association of Iranian American Professionals (AIAP), Iranian Cultural Foundation (ICF), Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), Shabeh Jomeh, and the Society of Iranian American Women for Education (SIAWE) accepted donations for “Search Homeless Services” in the week leading up to Thanksgiving.

These Iranian American organizations also joined to volunteer at the City Wide Club’s 34th Annual Thanksgiving Big Feast at the George R. Brown Convention Center on the morning of Thanksgiving Day. Every year, volunteers at the feast serve over 35,000 traditional meals to families on Thanksgiving.

By joining hands, the organizations were able to donate hundreds of bags of canned food items, clothing, hygienic items, and toys, as well as thousands of dollars in cash donations. We commend Houston’s great work and congratulate it on its recognition by ABC local news.

New York

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and in the spirit of PAAIA’s Persian Thanks Program, PAAIA NexGen New York partnered with IAAB and a coalition of community organizations to aid in the relief effort.  On Saturday, November 17th at 11:00 A.M., interested volunteers gathered at the main Occupy Sandy distribution center in Clinton to organize and distribute the donated goods to those who have been impacted by Sandy.

San Diego

On Monday November 12th, a group of about 25 volunteers gathered at the Family Recovery Center in Oceanside to give back to the San Diego community as a part of PAAIA’s annual Persian Thanks program.

Iranian American San Diegans came from all over the county, with gourmet cuisines and toys for the children at the shelter. The tables were set with linen tablecloths, flowers, and festive décor. Before the meal began, one of the Iranian Americans prayed over the women and children to encourage them to stay strong in the midst of their adversities, as their resilience would be rewarded.

After dinner, Persian music set the tone, and women and children got up and danced the night away. Many of the women from the shelter were touched and thanked the kind gesture of their hosts. Many mentioned that the meal was the best they had this year and that they were grateful for the joy their kids had in opening toys.

Volunteers told PAAIA that they volunteered to show that our community is “grateful to have a home away from our ancestral homeland, that we care, and that we want to share our cultural heritage with our fellow Americans.” At the Family Recovery Center, women and children are already eager for their next Persian Thanks dinner.

Sufi Restaurant and the Quality Discount Ice Cream Distributors generously donated gourmet Persian dishes and ice cream to San Diego’s Persian Thanks this year.

View the pictures from this year’s Persian Thanks on our facebook page.

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