PITTSBURGH — The first pause in fighting since the Israel-Hamas war has begun, with the planned release of at least 13 hostages scheduled for Friday morning in exchange for 39 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Last month, we told you about the Brother’s Brother Foundation’s efforts to help those affected by the conflict in the Middle East. Channel 11 checked back in with the president of the Pittsburgh nonprofit, who said he’s hoping that the planned temporary ceasefire and truce will open up more possibilities for humanitarian aid.
“We follow humanitarian law, and we are absolutely neutral. Our goal is not to judge in any way but just to help,” said Ozzy Samad, president of the Brother’s Brother Foundation
For the last six weeks, the nonprofit has collected money, medical supplies, and personal hygiene items for those displaced by the conflict.
“It is definitely difficult to watch the images of little children with major injuries, adults, whomever it may be, hostages. It’s across the board,” Samad said.
Brother’s Brother collected hygiene items for individual kits, but shipments of supplies were just sitting in the nonprofit’s warehouse, since only some international humanitarian aid has been able to get to its destination. But now, with a temporary ceasefire and hostage release in place, the shipments may now be able to make it.
“It’s ready to go and it’s been ready to go, frankly, so we’re just waiting on our partners to say when,” Samad said.
Samad said his organization has been working closely with four different organizations directly – two in Israel, two others in Gaza – and are continuing to collect both money and hygiene items from people here in Pittsburgh.
“What we don’t want to do is a) just send things that are sitting in warehouses or inundating people who are already at the max, in terms of what they are able to handle. So we’re very careful about how we do this,” Samad said.
Brother’s Brother said it is ready to send supplies as soon as the green light is given, cognizant of what its partners need while knowing that the needs of each region could continue to be different.
“Months and months and months of rebuilding and so on…our work continues long after the initial phase,” Samad said.
To make a donation or send a check, visit the Brother’s Brother website.
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