JFS Perspectives

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Raad Altaee: A Picture of Happiness



Raad Altaee: A Picture of Happiness

Raad Altaee, 57, is warm and welcoming with a delightful twinkle in his eyes. He loves people and they love him back. He’s effusively happy and kind, and deeply appreciative of any kind gesture and eager to reciprocate. You can’t help but smile when you meet him.

Raad AltaeeRaad is an Iraqi refugee who came to Colorado in 2014 with his family following years of trauma and uncertainty in his native country. He was an interpreter for the U.S. military in Iraq for many years. The commanders he worked with did everything they could to ensure that Raad could come to the U.S. with his family and live in safety.

Two years ago, he was referred to Jewish Family Service for support services. He was given access to the Weinberg Food Pantry, which has helped him to sustain his family, including his wife and six children. Due to some serious health issues, Raad has been unable to work. Fortunately, he is fast on the road to recovery, but in the meantime he needs to eat. Having monthly access to the food pantry at JFS has helped him bridge the gap and put some food on the table for his family.

“When I come to Jewish Family Service, I can get food to feed my children for a week and sometimes longer,” he exclaims. “I can get bread which is what I love the most. JFS is a big help in my life. It makes me very happy!”

The rent that Raad pays for his modest apartment in Aurora takes up all of his monthly income, leaving nothing for food and other living expenses. His wife works, but it’s still a struggle. Before coming to JFS, Raad was stressed about making ends meet and providing for his family, which didn’t help his heart condition. “Now I don’t worry about food and can work on getting better. I walk four miles every day and, thanks to JFS, I eat healthy food. I’ll be back to work soon.”

Raad and familyHe is grateful not only for JFS, but for the opportunity to be in this country. “Not all families are happy to be in America. Not me. I am very, very happy!” Raad’s enthusiasm is infectious. The staff and volunteers relish working with Raad and his family. “It’s a joy to help someone who is so positive, kind, and appreciative,” says Gabe Moe-Lobeda, pantry coordinator.

Raad thanks every staff member he sees, every time he sees them. He has offered to volunteer in the pantry as an interpreter for other Arabic-speaking clients. He’s been known to bring treats to share with the staff and volunteers. “Maybe in the future, I will give money to help people at JFS. I want to give something back. I want to help.”

 



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