Contact: Donna Baranski-Walker 650 440-9667 
twitter: @RebuildingAll    

Jan 19 2015, San Mateo CA —Rebuilding Alliance is taking up the call for service of others this Martin Luther King Day, inviting people of all faiths and backgrounds to send-off a 40 ft. shipping container full of donated shoes, bedding, clothing, and toys to Syrian refugees sheltering in Lebanon — and to send them a video message of hope.  From 11 AM - 1 PM, as the container is loaded, community members will gather and quote MLK’s speeches, share a meal together, and wish the container well on its journey.  Participants will be asked to write letters of encouragement, and the notes will be tucked away with the other goods - a message across the Atlantic that says the refugees are not alone, and not forgotten.

“Martin Luther King said that everything that is done in the world is done by hope,” said Donna Baranski-Walker, Executive Director of  Rebuilding Alliance.  “If this madness is ever to end, we’ve got to do more than march.  Let’s start by coming together with all our neighbors to help Syrian families torn from their homes, a first step to restoring their human rights and safety throughout the world.”


  • When:  MLK, Jr. Day, Monday, January 19th: 11 AM - 1 PM
  • Who and What: The Public is invited to an Audience Participation Event:  a Reading of Martin Luther King’s Messages of Hope in both Arabic and English, as young people load a shipping container for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon
  • Where: Rebuilding Alliance, 178 South Boulevard, San Mateo, CA 94402 (Near Hwy 92 and El Camino, just a block NW from Caltrain’s Hayward Park Station)
  • Lunch will be donated by Albayk Restaurant, Chan Wei Bistro and Waterfront Restaurant and Pizza
With over 8 million Syrian refugees now fleeing to neighboring countries Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey to escape the ongoing civil war, the Syrian refugee crisis has become the worst in history. Rebuilding Alliance,  a non-profit dedicated to rebuilding war-torn communities and making them safe is working with Jewish Voice for Peace - South Bay, and the Swasia Charity Foundation of New Jersey to send a 40ft. shipping container filled with donated shoes, bedding, clothing, and toys from the Bay Area to Syrian refugees sheltering in Lebanon. 

“Martin Luther King Jr.’s messages of human dignity and struggle transcend all religious and racial backgrounds,” said Wendy Greenfield, co-founder of Jewish Voice for Peace – South Bay.  “We gather on Monday, so soon after the Charlie Hebdo massacres in France, to read inspirational messages  from one of the world’s greatest non-violent leaders, and so remind one another of our responsibility for one another.”

The event begins early - volunteers will arrive before the container truck to bring hundreds of boxes onto the street and prepare for loading. Everyone is invited to come to Rebuilding Alliance’s location at 178 South Boulevard, San Mateo 94402 from 11 AM to 1 PM on Monday, January 19th to write letters, eat lunch, and take inspiration from the messages of MLK , Jr. to hope for peace in Syria. In a special homage to MLK’s legacy, a film crew will be recording members of the crowd reciting segments of MLK’s speech in both English and Arabic for a Youtube message to Syrians and people everywhere.

“When I received pictures during the latest snowstorm in Syria, it broke my heart.  I had to take action,” says Imad. “I asked Rebuilding Alliance to help because of the strong support for the Clothe Gaza’s Children program. When we come together as people who care, it makes a real difference to families in dire need.”

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Donna Baranski-Walker is an MIT engineer who is the founder and Executive Director of Rebuilding Alliance.  She has been working in Israel and Palestine since 1996, when she first visited schools in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and Jordan to invite them to link together using technology, and they all said yes.  She founded Rebuilding Alliance in 2002, specializing in bringing architects and engineers to work with villagers and Non-Governmental Organizations to build kindergartens, playgrounds, and affordable homes.   In August of 2010, Donna was given a Medal of Gratitude in front of 25,000 people at the Gdansk Shipyard in Poland for her work 30 years earlier in support of the Polish Solidarity Movement. 

Wendy Greenfield is a local public school teacher and life long human rights activist, who co-founded the South Bay Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace over 13 years ago - the first JVP chapter outside of of the SF Bay Chapter.  The chapter welcomes both Jewish and non-Jewish members who want to work to make the vision of a just peace in the Middle East a reality.

Imad Kadoumi is a financial planner who is volunteering with Swasia Charity Foundation to get clothing donations to Syrian refugees in this time of need.  In this shipment, over 700 boxes of clothing, bedding, shoes, toys and books will be send to the Port of Beirut Lebanon where they will go to a warehouse to be distributed by Swasia Charity Foundation. was founded specifically to address the needs of civilians displaced by political and violent turmoil in the country and provides a variety of services including food, water, and clothing.