Miry Whitehall, Founder and Executive director of Miry’s List, founded the organisation in 2016 when she became friends with a family of newly arrived Syrian refugees in Los Angeles. The family had children the same ages as her own and they formed an instant bond with each other.
It soon came to Miry’s attention that the family did not have all the basic amenities that they needed. She posted a list on her personal Facebook page and crowd-sourced all the items within two weeks. This is how Miry’s List started.
There are refugee families arriving to the US from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Yemen and Kurdistan. Now, there are over 111 volunteer list makers across the world, setting up unique lists for each individual new arrival family in need. Since December 2017, Miry’s List has helped over 250 families, (that’s 18 families per week!) and over $1200 worth of gifts have been donated from people all over the world.
Miry’s List goes further than supplying families with urgently needed material items. They recognise the difficulties new arrival families face in integrating into an entirely new and alien environment. Miry’s List aims to make families feel as welcome, comfortable and safe as possible. They organise social activities such as supper clubs and play dates and other practical things such as English lessons and visits to the doctor.
Miry’s List divide their approach to welcoming refugee families into three basic steps: Survive, Hive and Thrive. The goal of step one is to make families who are fresh of the plane feel more relaxed, welcome and safe. Services in ‘Survive’ include providing temporary housing and emergency supplies such as groceries, nappies and toiletries.
Step two is for when families have moved in to their permanent home. Miry explains that this step is named Hive because ‘like swarming bees, we surround our families with the people, services, and things they need to rebuild their lives’. This includes wish list creation, employment mentoring and pregnancy support.
The third and final phase, ‘Thrive’, initiates when the families truly feel like part of their new community. In this phase, they may be interested in volunteering opportunities with Miry’s List, wanting to help others around them. There are opportunities to get involved with supper club catering, as well as other work and volunteer opportunities.
Miry’s List has created a platform for people to reach out to one another, to give generously to those in need, bringing neighbours closer to one another.
For more information, or to see how you can get involved, visit https://miryslist.org.