National Day of Service
By PAAIA Houston Chapter
September 14, 2011, Houston, TX – September 11th, 2011 was a day of remembrance, reflection, and community service. PAAIA Houston observed the 10th anniversary of 9/11 as the National Day of Service by taking Persian Food to three fire stations and thanked over forty firefighters for their service. PAAIA NexGen volunteers also provided help to the Food for Life Project by donating and making sack lunches for over 300 kids in Houston for kids between the ages of 2 to 6 who go hungry without the support of programs like this.
Members of PAAIA Houston Chapter in solidarity with Houston firefighters and in accordance with Persian tradition of sharing food as a sign of appreciation and support visited three fire stations. In the Iranian culture, social gatherings of this sort have great importance and play a key role in nurturing a sense of community. The group’s leadership hoped to bring that sense of community by thanking the local firefighters for their service and sharing a meal.
Dr. Ali Azizzadeh, the spokesperson of the group, described the missions of PAAIA and thanked firefighters for their daily services to Houston community. In each station, a moment of silence was observed in honor of the fallen heroes of 9/11.
The Persian food which was prepared and donated generously by Café Caspian – Fine Persian Cuisine, Houston was served to Village Fire Station; Houston Fire Station # 2 and West U Place Fire Dept.
Firefighters were extremely appreciative of PAAIA’s gesture. “The West University Place Fire Department is honored to be recognized on Sunday, September 11, 2011 by The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans,” explained Fire Chief Steve Ralls. “Your organization’s public outreach efforts are most kind and generous, and you can be assured that our Fire Department is most appreciative.”
PAAIA NEXGEN program was amazing to watch as everyone came together. One team made sandwiches, one team designed brown paper bags with cheerful art, and one team packed all the food in the bags. The time NEXGEN put in went a long way to help and do the right thing in Houston community.
“I think the best way to describe this project is that six days out of the week we do something for ourselves – ‘it’s my house, my school, my grades.’” This is a way to take a few hours out of life to do something for someone else,” said Sonia Sardana, one of the volunteer coordinators who initiated this project.