It looked like a typical group of teens laughing and singing while packing bags full of broccoli at the Marion-Polk Food Share warehouse last week. But this volunteer group was special. These kids had traveled across the world from the island of Cyprus and were spending four weeks in the United States on a cultural exchange program to promote peace and unity. Their day spent volunteering at the Food Share is just one way that they are building relationships that will one day bring peace to their country.
Cyprus is located in the eastern Mediterranean. The island is divided and patrolled by a UN buffer zone with Turkish-speaking Muslims on the north and Greek-speaking Christians on the south. The goal of theCyprus Friendship Program cultural exchange is that the kids who participate will develop cross-cultural friendships, break down stereotypes and work together for peace.
“This program gives the kids a month to build a relationship with the enemy on the other side of the border,” said Tammy Haas, Area Coordinator for the Cypress Friendship Program. “They live together, work together and build trust.”
Thank you to the teens in the Cyprus Friendship Program for working together to feed people in our community. Your leadership will help our community today and inspire us to look for a better tomorrow.
If you are part of a group that would like to work together to feed people, please contact Marion-Polk Food Share at 503-581-3855.