11 Jan Making Miry’s List
Everyone knows that the United States has received an influx of immigrants in the past year, many of them refugees who are seeking asylum from a violent, war-torn country. What many people don’t know is that when these resettled people are placed in homes in Southern California there is a gap of up to six weeks before they receive benefits in the form of simple needs: diapers, beds, formula, clothes, etc. Miry, a former marketer and newly declared stay at home mom saw this gap, created a program to help those people get the supplies they need, and thus founded a nonprofit called Miry’s List.
The Story Behind Miry’s List
Miry’s story is personal, as she met a family of refugees from Syria in July of 2016 through a friend whose church was sponsoring them and got to see first-hand the way these people live in their initial weeks in the United States. She recalls the family needed a Jumperoo, a device for a child to hang in a chair suspended from a door jam to expel some energy and give their weary parents a break from holding them. Miry posted on Facebook, imploring her friends to donate any extra Jumperoos, and had many offers. She collected one, drove it down to the family, and saw that these people needed a lot of essentials. One of the families had an 8 month old baby sleeping in a basket designed for a 2 week old. Emboldened by the success of her first Facebook post, Miry made a list of things they needed on a piece of paper and decided to try again with a few more items to see what could be collected. The results were overwhelming, and Miry started looking for her next family. She reached the families by calling over-worked organizations and explaining her plan — after the 5th family she was getting incoming leads as calls came in. Now she has a roster of 40 lists that she’s managing.
Learning to be supportive and patient while these people adjust to being strangers in a strange land is hard. One woman, while discussing the items needed, bursts into tears, crying, “I don’t even know how to go to the grocery store!” Miry tells her that hard part is over — it gets easier now, and we start to rebuild your life. Miry hopes that by providing supplies and support systems that they’ll have the space in their minds and hearts to unpack and heal. The language barrier is tough, but there are enough people to help and one language they have in common: food. “I love the culinary adventures I go through with these families,” she tells Stepforward. “They don’t have much, but they always offer me a meal and it’s usually so creative.” Miry still meets most of the families for whom she’s created lists, and has grown to care for them all deeply.
Balancing Looking Good and Doing Good
When Miry was a corporate marketer, her attire was very “power woman on the go” with suits, heels and fancy bags. Since becoming a mother, and nonprofit founder, she’s found her ensembles focus more on comfort. She describes her typical outfit, “Yoga pants, a tee shirt and hoodie and Birkenstocks, since I do a lot of walking around El Cajon,” she pauses, ‘But if it’s raining then boots.” She does actually practice yoga, but loves her Lululemon pants because they have a pocket where she keeps a pacifier for her children. On any given day she can be seen wearing a Beat Lab Academy hat, which is her husband’s music production school.
Growing Miry’s List
Miry is designing an app to use in the field and is working with a mobile developer from Microsoft to try and streamline the process. Soon, volunteers will be able to visit a family, hand them a tablet, and let them peruse the items and choose what they need on their own. Things like shoe sizes are saved in a family’s profile, and suggestions will show up to assist them. Miry’s marketing degree from the University of Maryland and 10 years of experience in the field have helped her understand how to reach people, implement tactics, utilize social media, and work smarter to accomplish more. She would like to try using Pods to store and ship donated items, and she just secured funding for the first pod. She’s also trying to find a local school in Eagle Rock or someone who’s willing to give a space for 2 weeks to store these pods. Miry also teamed up with another woman doing something similar, Kristin Burke of Second Families. Together, they organize a bi-monthly delivery of goods to families in need.
How You Can Help
Simple things like sharing the lists on social media, or purchasing items yourself are so helpful. Even a $5 box of sponges or a $70 stroller makes a huge difference in the life of a displaced family. If you want to do more, use your community resources to get connected with a local family and volunteer to become their sponsor, create, a list, and get it fulfilled. Whether you want to take the step, or simply buy a few items from a list, every little bit helps. You can follow Miry’s List on Facebook to see all the families who are helped by the organization.