For most people, the attachment to the homeland only grows stronger the more distance separates them from it. For one thing, the acts of compassion and support that the Lebanese diaspora has been displaying serve to prove this.
Fares Wehbe’s heart never left Lebanon. After he fled the civil war to the US in 1975, he started to dedicate time, money, and energy to provide for his nation’s struggling people.
Wehbe, who currently heads the LA Cedars Rotary Club in Los Angeles, California, has helped secure over 1,000 water networks to Lebanese public schools for 13 years.
His will to help his people unabating, he has made it a priority to provide food boxes to struggling Lebanese families following the start of the October 17 uprising.
He has so far sent to Lebanon 1,100 food boxes, each enough to support a family of 4 for a month.
“We do not abandon the people as they are our brethren and family. Lebanon is our country and the cedar is our cedar.”
As the crisis in the country grows, so does the target number of aid boxes, which are packed and sent to Lebanon in collaboration with the Los Angeles Beirut Sister Cities Committee and the World Lebanese Cultural Union‘s California office.
The project, which started in February, involves other diligent collaborators, such as Lebanese Food Bank Member Ronald Farra, the former head of the LA Cedars Rotary Club, Maher Al-Soufi, as well as several rotaries in Lebanon.
With the help of collaborators and donors, Fares Wehbe hopes to consistently deliver a monthly total of 1,000 food packages – enough to feed 4,000 individuals – and to expand the initiative further in the future.
He also aspires to see Lebanon rebuilt as “a state of law and a homeland to be proud of. Lebanon can no longer endure,” he tells Annahar.
This charitable act is one of many altruistic endeavors that the Lebanese diaspora has been involved in to attempt to help their people back home stave off hunger and poverty and, ultimately, help build the new Lebanon that they also dream of.