During lockdown, Syrian families in Alloa wanted to show their appreciation for local key workers. A group of the families clubbed together to buy ingredients to make pizzas and other treats to boost key workers’ spirits.

Muhanad and his son
Pictured: Muhanad and his son at Alwen Cakes

One of the people involved was father-of-three, Muhanad, who owns Alwen Cakes in the town. Muhanad and his family were resettled in Scotland after spending five years in temporary accommodation in Lebanon.

Muhanad said: “Fourteen families got together and collected money to pay for ingredients to make food for key workers. We all made the pizzas and I made 100 cakes and delivered these to a charity for the elderly to distribute to their service users. We have delivered these to local NHS staff and the police, and have more planned.”

Syriana restaurant falafels
Pictured: Falafels made at Syriana Restaurant

Others involved in the initiative include couple Dima and Yasser, who have three children and were resettled in Alloa in 2017. They run a popular local restaurant – Syriana Restaurant – with extended family members, the Aloshs, who live nearby. The whole family are pitching in to make some traditional Arabic food, like falafels, for healthcare workers in the area. To date they have distributed more than 100 meals and have more planned.

Both families are involved with the group Forth Valley Welcome. When families first arrive in the area the group matches them with a volunteer home visitor who assists them with finding their way around the local area, learning English, accessing essentials such as laptops, children’s toys, kitchen equipment, and other needs. The group also organises community events so that the families can meet and get to know others and build friendships.

Avril Hunter, a support worker with Forth Valley Welcome, said:

“These families have arrived from a worn-torn country, often having spent a long time in temporary accommodation in another country before arriving in Scotland.  They have had to leave family, friends and belongings behind. Then they have had to learn a new language and settle into their new homes in a new country.  For them to start their own businesses and upon lockdown think of others is very humbling indeed.”

Laura Delaney
Author: Laura Delaney