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Actor Zeeko Zaki speaks with Dina, an IRC essential worker responding to COVID-19

IRC spokesperson and actor Zeeko Zaki caught up with IRC staff member and fellow Egyptian, Dina Elshenawy, to learn more about her work in IRC's partnership with World Central Kitchen. She has been helping provide food to vulnerable people in New York City, including refugees and at-risk families, since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

Read the full video transcript

Video Transcript

Zeeko Zaki: [in Arabic] "May peace be upon you. How are you? I wish you well every year to come."

Dina Elshenawy: [in Arabic]“I hope you are well, too.”

IRC spokesperson and actor Zeeko Zaki called Dina Elshenawy of the IRC to learn more about her work in the IRC’s partnership with World Central Kitchen. She helps provide food for vulnerable communities in New York City hit hard by COVID-19.

Zeeko: “What were you doing before COVID-19 happened?”

Dina: “I was a volunteer with the IRC, International Rescue Committee, as an interpreter, and they gave me a free course.”

Zeeko: “Amazing.”

Dina: “Yeah, with them it’s amazing. During this crisis, everybody needs food so the IRC stepped up to help all of these people, to give them food to make sure everyone is not hungry. It’s not only for refugees. It’s not only for our clients. It’s for everyone.”

Zeeko: “What is kind of the ability or kind of the strength that these food kitchens have?”

Dina: “We offer free meals for people from 12 to 2[PM]. Two days [we partner] with World Central Kitchen, one day is special for IRC.”

Zeeko: “How many people are you guys serving?”

Dina: “200 people [each day] and more.”

Zeeko: “These things are helping but still there’s so much more needed.”

Dina: “Of course, yeah.”

Zeeko: “How are you feeling—is it overwhelming?”

Dina: “I always hear a lot of stories from the people who come to pick up the food. Most of the stories are sad. The people are very different than before. Everything, everybody changed inside and outside.”

Zeeko: “How old are your kids?”

Dina: “One is eight months.”

Zeeko: “Oh my gosh, congratulations.”

Dina: “One is two years. Thank you. And one is supposed to be five years now.”

Zeeko: “So how are they handling it?”

Dina: “I give them time for painting. This is a door.”

Zeeko: “The whole house will be covered by the end of this.”

Dina: “Yeah. This is a paper from my hand.”

Zeeko: “You’re in New York, you’re in the heat of it and it’s just so refreshing and so exciting to see that at least there is some positivity coming out of it. I think [COVID-19 is] changing kind of what the whole idea and world behind relationships, behind people, behind community kind of looks like. It is time to connect with people and to help people.”

Dina: “We have to teach people more about donations. If you can, maybe it’s not money—You can donate with your time.”

Zeeko: “Nothing too small.”