In light of the terrible situation in Aleppo and the many thousands stranded there, HADAYA is sending emergency evacuation kits that include ready-to-eat food, warm clothing and medicine to traumatized refugees in urgent need. We are working with a local, on-the-ground, organization on the border of Syria and Turkey who are dealing with a massive influx of these refugees fleeing Aleppo and who need our help. 

Over the holidays, please consider asking your family and friends to join you in giving. Help us provide at least 2,000 kits. Let's all help in this small way!

• $15:  Buys one kit for a refugee in dire need
• $30:  Helps a parent & child who are lucky enough to make it out together
• $60:  Supports a whole family to have ready-to-eat food, warm clothing and medicine
• $150: Brings emergency evacuation kits to 10 people in this terrible situation
• $600: Would make a HUGE difference in the lives of many!

HADAYA was happy to help in this courageous effort and we will continue to support the efforts of local organization, Kids Paradise, (as well as specifically addressing the needs of the youngest children) as we move into Spring! Many thanks to the kind and generous folks whose donations of financial support made this happen. Your spirit of love was felt by the many families who arrived hungry, disoriented and exhausted from their homes. SHUKRAN! 


New Hadaya ambassador, David Clay, and Jennifer MacDonald were lucky enough to connect with the wonderful Khalid Nabeel Mukhtar in Amman, Jordan. Dr. Khalid is an Iraqi ear, nose and throat doctor and avid member of his church who spends the majority of his time caring for newly arrived refugee families from Iraq. They are Christian families from in and around Mosul who have fled the onslaught of extremists with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. As they are not allowed to legally work in Jordan, things are very difficult for them once they arrive in Amman and many of them need all types of assistance, especially families with special needs or handicapped members. Hadaya was able to offer some gifts to individual families this summer and we hope to do much more this Holiday Season. If you are interested in sponsoring an Iraqi family in Jordan through Hadaya, please e-mail us with the subject: IRAQI REFUGEES. 

Family Fun Day

We sponsored a day at an indoor amusement park for 56 children and their families. A majority of these kids suffer from PTSD so it was great to see them smiling and laughing. For many of them, it was their first trip to this type of park and the first time in a long time they had the freedom to just play and be kids. We also gave each child a backpack full of gifts (soccer balls, jump ropes, tops, puppets, books and art supplies). Thanks to everyone whose donations and labor made this happen. They LOVED it!

Family Lunch Outing

We hosted a luncheon at a restaurant in downtown Amman for about 25 kids and their families. David played the clown and made balloon sculptures, much to the children’s delight. They each received one of the toy-filled backpacks as well. It was touching to see how happy this small gesture made the parents, as well as the kiddos.

Gamia Community Center, Amman

We attended a wonderful performance of songs, poetry and theatre by a Palestinian youth group in the old city. The kids were incredibly passionate and creative and wrote many of the theatre pieces themselves. The Palestinian youth are a poor and underserved community in Jordan and often get forgotten, especially due to the current refugee crisis. Thanks to the lovely Hiba Al Shatarat, HADAYA is currently helping to renovate their community center so that they will have a positive, clean and safe place to gather, practice and study. Hiba organizes and leads a group of dedicated volunteers that will be doing things like repairing and tiling the bathrooms and kitchen, painting, installing windows and making cosmetic repairs to make it a happy space. We believe that a functional, uplifting environment has a huge impact on the psychology of a child. We can’t wait to see how this place is reborn! Before and after pics coming soon. We also plan to continue to help renovate gathering spaces, schools and homes for this community as the need arises. If you are interested in helping with this particular effort, e-mail us with the subject: COMMUNITY CENTER.

First Montessori School for Syrian Refugees in Jordan

We were lucky enough to meet Maha Turner at our hotel on the day we arrived in Amman. She told us about her career as a lifelong educator and about her dream of starting the first ever Montessori classroom for Syrian refugees in Jordan and we knew we wanted to help. HADAYA provided some of the materials she needed to open the (yes!) very first Montessori school for the children of Syrian widows now living as refugees in Amman. The school is geared towards children 2-7 years old, many of whom suffer from PTSD and are at a crucial stage in their development. This age group is widely underserved by aid organizations since they are not yet technically school age. Maha’s program fills a huge gap and she is even training some of the widows to be teachers! We hope to continue to support this school and others like it for refugee children in the region. Bravo Maha and team! This is a beautiful effort by a truly wonderful lady we feel blessed to know. The spirit of HADAYA is collaboration - in ways big and small, with other heart-centered people who have decided to take action. If you’d like to be one of them, contact us with the subject: MONTESSORI SCHOOLS.


When we heard about activist and filmmaker Nawneet Ranjan's efforts to establish a fully functioning community center and hub of activity for the Dharavi Girls in Mumbai, we knew we wanted to help in any way we could. The Dharavi Community Center provides opportunities in science, technology and art to almost 200 girls living in the slums. 

The girls live in 200 square foot rooms in the narrow alleys of Dharavi, up steep ladders, and without much light for studying. Typically, there are an average of 6 to 11 family members living together so it is impossible for the kids to find the space or privacy to study effectively.

As part of our ‘Summer Love’ projects this year, Jennifer has travelled to Mumbai, India to meet Nawneet Ranjan and the Dharavi Girls. It’s been another eye- and heart- opening opportunity to connect with these beautiful children and see firsthand how resilient the human spirit can be.

This week we provided over 100 books on science, language and history for their library, along with several cameras for their journalism program.  We also provided six months worth of various art and writing supplies; a variety of science related tools; handcrafted spinning tops and jump ropes - with thanks to Samara Mendel Price of Asheville, Glendale Woodturners Guild and Carolina Mountain Woodturners; Hobey Ford's Peeper's Puppets; several cameras; and soccer balls donated by Christ School students and Farthest North Girl Scout Council Troop 144 from Fairbanks, Alaska.

We are thrilled to be working with such talented and inspiring kids and look forward to future projects here. And a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped make this happen!


If you didn't already know, Asheville has won 'Beer City USA' most years since 2009! Boasting more breweries per capita than any other US city, over 100 local beers can be enjoyed in and around the area. Each of our breweries has its own unique atmosphere and personality and the same could be said for the beer. Which is why we're teaming up with several of our local breweries this year to not only support our 'Summer Love' projects, but to begin promoting World Refugee Day on June 20th.

We are seeking to build long term partnerships with the region's breweries, that support refugee children and educate/engage the public, through HADAYA TOYS. Our ultimate vision is to have a yearly nationwide event (much like Dining Out For Life) on or around June 20th - World Refuge Day. We believe that Asheville is already a model for the rest of the country in forward-thinking community engagement, and we want to be the first to rally our community around the refugee crisis - the largest humanitarian disaster since WW2.

So come on out and raise a glass for refugees!  A portion of the profits on these 'pint days and nights' will go to support HADAYA TOYS!!

CATAWBA BREWING - May 24th - 'Revenuers Red Ale' Pint Day

GREEN MAN BREWERY - May 28th - 'Balancer Summer Ale' Release Pint Day

OSKAR BLUES BREWERY - June 2nd - Hadaya Benefit Night, w/ live music

HI-WIRE BREWING - June 9th - Hadaya Benefit Night

And if you need a little (or a lot) of guidance about all of our breweries, then we highly suggest you head over to Asheville Ail Trail for 'everythingyoueverneedtoknowaboutbeerbreweriesandevents' :)

Thank you brewers, we love our town and community!



Please consider donating here for our SUMMER LOVE projects.

This summer, HADAYA TOYS will be delivering soccer balls, school supplies, and toys to over one hundred Iraqi refugee children living in and around Amman, Jordan.

These children are from Christian families that have fled persecution by ISIS in Northern Iraq (Mosul), often at great personal cost. Many of them are orphans or have lost much of their family. They are being generously hosted by various Jordanian priests, however, their guardians are unable to legally work in Jordan and the larger government aid organizations are not helping them as they are overwhelmed and underfunded. They are in desperate need of emergency formula, baby food and bottles to get them through the long hot summer. HADAYA hopes to provide $5k worth of emergency food aid which should help feed the kids for up to six months. 

We are also very excited to collaborate on an innovative project, Dharavi Diary, in one of the largest slum populations in the world, in Mumbai, India. Fusing storytelling, digital literacy and mobile application entrepreneurship, a group of about 250 women and children (mostly girls) are learning leadership and tech skills to become the 'change makers' of their community.

In a small, make-shift, tech design lab they meet to learn mobile application technology to help solve their community problems - an app that alerts the best time to collect water form a community tap, so they don't  waste time standing long hours in a queue every day; an app focusing on women's safety that includes a distress alarm, location mapping, and SMS alerts; and another that gives ideas for recycling items to create new products and educate on waste management. All of which supports their independence, self-esteem, and ability to find employment later.

HADAYA hopes to cover six months of the 'supply' costs, about $5k - to include laptops, digital cameras, library books, art supplies, stationery, rental for a safe place to learn -  and see how we can be invested further by developing an ongoing, supportive relationship.



Since November 2015, Kristian Gaylord, another Hadaya Ambassador, has been working in a remote village in the Gorkha province of Nepal - which also hosted the epicenter of last year's 7.8 magnitude earthquake, killing almost 10,000 people, displacing more than three million others, and destroying hundreds of thousands of homes.  He is helping to build a school for primary age children that is designed to remain standing the next time there is another earthquake of that magnitude.


Kristian is also a past student of Jennifer's, from Christ School, and recently contacted her with a plea for help: desperately needed supplies of blankets, medicine, and other supplies for thousands of displaced people, many of whom are children, in Nepal.

On behalf of Hadaya, Kristian purchased a library of over 300 books in Kathmandu which will be airlifted to the remote village school. The books, which will serve over 700 children, only take up half the allotted weight for the helicopter... the remainder will be filled with much needed medicine for the winter. Go Kristian!


The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back to a Greek monk, Saint Nicolas, who lived in what is now Southwestern Turkey.....he was known as the "protector of children." This Christmas, just a few miles from this exact spot, the children of Beyti orphanage, founded and run by the Maram Foundation, are enjoying toys, art supplies, and books from HADAYA.

Our beautiful HADAYA ambassador, Anola Alabdo, arrived in Istanbul and was immediately busy prepping to make the journey to Beyti orphanage in the South. First stop - the amazing Pages Bookstore Café to load up on Arabic books for the kiddos. Big thanks to Samer el Kadri and the wonderful staff at Pages!

After several more shopping trips in Istanbul for art supplies and toys, Anola made her way south the the orphanage, where she was greeted with much anticipation and excitement! Anola spent the next two weeks working with staff and the children to provide opportunities for play and learning, utilizing all the wonderful supplies she brought. BIG smiles all round :))

A big heart full of thanks to all the generous folks who made this happen. And to especially to Anola for her own fundraising efforts, as well as taking the time to travel and stay at the orphanage. Ambassador extraordinaire.


Our end of year fundraising event was such a beautiful affair, made more so by the love and support shown by so many of our incredible Asheville community. Jen and I briefly discussed the evening before heading home to rest our weary selves...and the first thing we knew was that it takes a special community to come together like that, in support of a common goal. And we're so happy to live in that community!

We were joined by dozens of people, renowned percussionist River Guergerian and Free Planet Radio, as well as other local musicians, for an evening of compassion and information, a short film presentation and discussion about the current Syrian refugee crisis and the work of HADAYA - spreading joy, one toy at a time, to refugee children worldwide. Middle Eastern treats were served - including Jennifer’s famous Habibi Baklava. We lit candles in solidarity with the millions of refugees who remain displaced. 

Tickets funds and donations from this evening went towards providing toys, books and art supplies for another ‘joy delivery’ to approx. 120 children in an orphanage in southern Turkey.  

There are so many people to thank and forgive us if we've missed a name or two, just know that we appreciate all of you so much:  Jubilee Community, Jay Joslin, Free Planet Radio, Aaron Kaz, Chelsea LaBate, Reverend Kirk Brown, KaChina Divine, Roots Hummus, Dobra Tea, Malaprops, Christ Scool, Anola Alabdo... oh, and all our great gift certificate givers. Beaucoup love.

Love over fear...always!


We woke up early to haul the 200 toy bags down 6 flights of stairs, badly underestimating the amount of time and strength it would take! Friend and neighbor, Simon, eventually stepped in to help and we finally got all 200 down to the waiting bus.

Here’s a little clip of the process:

Walid, Adrian and our lovely driver Ahmed, loaded the bus up and we took off on the hour and a half trip to Beka’a.

We arrived at the first camp, Musaab al Tuliani to a waiting crowd of mostly women (dressed in their finest) and cchildren who had been told to expect something special today. Despite the number of people and the anticipation, distribution went pretty seamlessly.

We had a list of the families in each camp and one representative from the family came to pick up their bag, usually accompanied by their children. The “Shawish” or camp manager helped confirm identities and control the environment; it was a very easy going and positive process. Many thanks go to Mehrwan of Kayani who helped organize the entire distribution, from beginning to end, in all four camps. We could not have done it without him.

The kids were thrilled beyond words to be getting an unexpected and special bag of treats.... within fifteen minutes this was happening:

Distribution to the four camps took all day and we handed out 200 bags, which reached about 600 kids and several adults. The mothers were especially happy to see their kids so happy and smiling; they thanked us profusely.

In the meantime, thanks to all the wonderful people who made this very grass roots and personal effort possible. You made HUNDREDS of children VERY happy!

We drove back to Beirut slowly, taking it all in and finally stopping at sunset at a mezze restaurant on the side of the road for an incredible Lebanese meal. Our reward after an intense and beautiful day.