Here at MECA, we are a small team with a lot to do, and volunteers make so much of the work we do for the youth of Palestine possible. Our volunteers teach and show us what true solidarity with Palestine means. We are able to put on events, unpack and organize shipments of beautiful crafts from Palestinian artisans, send out Shop Palestine orders, fundraise, and so much more with the help of our amazing volunteers. All of us at MECA are so deeply grateful to have such incredible volunteers who are so dedicated to MECA’s work and the Palestinian struggle for freedom.
We are always in need of more support, and would love to have you join our community! You can sign up to volunteer with this online form
Volunteers, like Christy McDonald (who is a MECA rockstar!), are the life and the base of the work that we do at MECA. We want to highlight Christy’s story and work, how she came to volunteer at MECA, what she has done, and what it means to her. Below is her testimony.
My Palestine solidarity work began at the end of 2016 after a three week solo trip to ‘Israel’ that ended up as a 3 week trip to Palestine. I absolutely fell in love with the place – its landscape, ancientness, light, sea, people, language, food, the smells as you walk through the markets and the sound of the call to prayer…but there were also signs of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians, subtle and not so subtle, everywhere. I returned from that trip driven to know as much as possible about Palestine and dove into educating myself about the history, culture and politics by reading and watching everything I could find. I enrolled in Arabic classes and started attending protests, lectures and various events – many of which were organized by MECA!
For the past five years my eagerness to learn about Palestine has been nothing short of obsessive which has baffled my family and friends. I’m not sure I can fully explain it either except that the more I learn the more I feel a responsibility to do what I can to support and speak out about Palestine. It’s the same way I feel about racism, we all have a responsibility to actively participate in dismantling white supremacy if we want things to change.
It’s been my goal to get back to Palestine since 2016 but unexpected family obligations and the pandemic have delayed my return. In May 2021, when Israel started bombing Gaza yet again, I felt overwhelmed to do more. With MECA being right here in Berkeley, it made sense for me to start volunteering.
My first day at MECA I helped unload 4 giant pallets of olive oil that had just arrived but normally I help Voulette with anything related to the Shop Palestine store. Things like unpacking shipments of beautiful handmade pottery, olive wood and food from Palestine, pricing items, arranging the shop displays, counting inventory, folding linens, hanging tatreez clothes, cleaning up, moving boxes around, stuffing envelopes and packing up orders. Last December I worked at the Holiday Bazaar – and its aftermath, I worked the MECA table at the Gus Newport Tribute, and coming up, I will be volunteering at the Ride for Palestine event.
Most people I know don’t want to talk about Palestine, so volunteering at MECA every week not only makes me feel like I’m doing something concrete to help, but it also makes me realize how much I value being around such awesome and like minded people. Working with Voulette, Zak and Patrick is literally the highlight of my week, I love every minute of my time at MECA. It’s also been amazing to watch this small but mighty organization, with all the great work they do in Palestine and beyond, run so smoothly with only a handful of immensely dedicated staff.