RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Many of the Afghan refugees who fled their country and now reside in the Triangle are temporarily living in hotels.
Because it’s tough to make meals in a small space, the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle is stepping up to do it for them.
“Our friends at Lutheran Services Carolina reached out that they have a need; that they have some Afghan refugees coming to the state,” said Melvin Acosta, VP of Operations and Logistics at the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.
Acosta worked with local butchers to source halal meat according to Islamic Law standards.
“One of the reasons why they require that menu was because of the difference in religious beliefs. Folks from the Islamic world, they believe in the halal method of killing their animals. That means they do it in a more humane way,” Acosta explained. “And because they do it in a different way than we process our animals in the states, we contacted some of our local Middle Eastern companies in the area and we discovered we have a partner locally only about 2 miles from here that actually had a butcher shop. They were able to link us up and buy the meat that we needed.”
The head chef then scoured the Internet for recipes that would feed large families.
“We came out with our version of the pepper chicken,” Acosta said, pointing to big aluminum casserole dishes. “An average plate serves 10-12 people because the average Afghan family is somewhere between 8-12 people at this time.”
According to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, 60 percent of the Afghan refugees who came to Raleigh are children under 10. Families weren’t ready to talk with CB S17 on Tuesday, but Acosta said he’s certain the food shuttle’s labor of love will bring them comfort in a place that feels so foreign.
“I think it will be a taste of home for them because being away thousands of miles from their homes, not knowing anybody but their close family,” he said. “Anybody they make a connection with, they create a bond with and it will help us make them feel welcome in our country.”
Acosta said one week’s worth of halal chicken costs about $5,000. He said they’ll continue cooking meals as long as there’s a need, but added that financial donations would be a huge help.