Miry’s List founder helping refugees feel safe in LA: ‘The need has never been greater’
By LA Stories Staff Eagle Rock
PUBLISHED 5:00 AM PT Oct. 11, 2021
In 2016, Miry Whitehill answered a call from a friend who asked if Whitehill had a baby chair she could donate to a Syrian family who had just moved to California.
The family had a child who was about the same age as Whitehill’s son, and Whitehill happily agreed to bring a baby chair to the family. Shortly upon entering the family’s home, however, Whitehill realized they needed so much more than just the chair. They had no beds, towels or kitchen supplies. They had come to the U.S. only with what they could carry.
Thinking on her feet, Whitehill made a list of items this family needed in order to get settled in their new home. She posted it to social media — and soon after, Miry’s List was born.
“Over the couple of weeks that it took to bring all of these supplies over to this family that were donated by my friends and neighbors who hadn’t even met them, that is when it all began,” said Whitehill.
In this episode of “LA Stories,” Whitehill explains to host Giselle Fernandez how she has been able to help over 600 families get settled in the U.S. through crowdsourcing and social media.
Whitehill’s goal is to make each family feel welcome by sending them much needed supplies that are donated. Whitehill feels she can relate to these families. She grew up in an Orthodox Jewish community and eventually moved to Tel Aviv, where she was a stranger to their customs. She was welcomed with open arms — and now she hopes to pay it forward.
“I think that certainly plays out in some of the core values of Miry’s List,” she said. “We create an environment where people are encouraged to connect with one another.”
With thousands of Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban over the last few weeks, Whitehill says the need is even more urgent. They’ve reached their maximum capacity and are working around the clock in order to help the families that need it. Miry’s List is now serving refugee families in as many as 17 states, but Whitehill says California is leading the way in resettlement.
“We, the citizens of Los Angeles, the Angelenos, can make these human connections and show up for these resettling families in our city.”