JEDDAH: For years, residents of the Kingdom have raised funds, donated goods and helped charities provide emergency aid to countries and people facing wars, famine and disaster.
This time, it is no different. Shocked by the devastating events in Beirut, Saudis are once more displaying their generosity by offering donations to help the Lebanese people find comfort and peace, as well as rebuild their shattered capital.
When news of the deadly Beirut port explosion broke last Tuesday, thousands of Saudis voiced their shock on social media, standing in solidarity with their Lebanese brothers and sisters, and promising to offer donations to help thousands of Lebanese left homeless by the blast.
In less than week, private businesses and donors, including foundations and philanthropic organizations, have donated more than SR1.8 million ($490,000) to the “Giving a helping hand to the brothers in Lebanon” program organized by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief).
KSRelief, the only body authorized to receive charitable or humanitarian donations from within the Kingdom, was at the forefront of international aid efforts to Beirut.
Businesses have also offered part of their proceeds to help KSRelief’s assistance program.
Tarek, Farah & Haneen Khaled Naaman, owners of Siblings Brunch and Coffee in Jeddah, dedicated the proceeds from one day’s work to help hard-hit Lebanese — even though their business has been in operation for only eight months.
We’re a small business and yet my siblings and I couldn’t turn away from this devastating situation. One day’s proceeds is the minimum we could do; that’s what we can do for now.
“My family is originally Lebanese, but we were born and raised here, so Lebanon has always been a second home to us,” Tarek told Arab News.
“To give is a human act of kindness and they (the Lebanese) have gone through so much for so long. It is our duty to help. I’m blessed and I’d like to share these blessings, especially now. If I can do more, I won’t hesitate,” he said.
“We’re a small business and yet my siblings and I couldn’t turn away from this devastating situation. One day’s proceeds is the minimum we could do; that’s what we can do for now.”
Naaman also called on other firms to help in any way possible, urging them to “do the math, focus on keeping their business afloat, but also finding the means to give back.”
He said: “If God is giving to you, you should give to those less fortunate. God will triple your earnings.”
Saudi people have also shown their generosity, with many voicing the same reason for making donations.
“These are our Arab brothers and sisters, we stand with them and we’ll help in any way we can,” said Amani A.A., a businesswoman.
“No matter how big or small a donation is, I know it’s going to a good cause and it’s only fair we do our part.
“Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, Iraq, Syria — it doesn’t matter who they are or where they’re from,” she said.
“You wouldn’t want to stand alone while you suffer.”