Paige Kollock, Marathon Strategies
paige@marathonstrategies.com; Office: (212) 256-9843, Cell: (202) 215-9260

Laila Mokhiber, UNRWA USA Director of Communications
laila@unrwausa.org; Office: 202-223-1220



Funds raised at race benefit mental health programs for Palestine refugees

WASHINGTON, DC – The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the only agency with a UN mandate to provide critical social services in the Gaza Strip, is in peril due to the US government’s decision to discontinue financial support.

On Saturday, September 22, runners will gather at the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail to participate in the seventh annual DC Gaza 5K + Dabke Party to show solidarity with those suffering in Gaza.

The charity walk/run is hosted by UNRWA USA, a nonprofit organization that supports UNRWA’s humanitarian and development work and fundraises for programs that support Palestine refugees’ mental health.

Proceeds will be directed to UNRWA’s emergency assistance in the Gaza Strip to provide mental health counselors to thousands of refugee children -- a program that is under threat due to the US government’s funding freeze.

UNRWA provides education, healthcare, relief and social services, microfinance, and emergency assistance to more than 5 million Palestine refugees across the occupied Palestinian territory, as well as Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. 

This year, the US government announced it would no longer contribute to UNRWA. As the agency’s largest donor, the decision has thrown UNRWA into the worst financial crisis in its 70-year history. Already, the agency has been forced to eliminate jobs and reduce services. UNRWA’s expansive school system educating more than 525,000 children is also in jeopardy.

“UNRWA is addressing a growing psychosocial epidemic among Palestine refugees, including thousands of children, caused by extreme stress resulting from a decade of blockade, three conflicts, and the uncertainty of the future in the region,” said Elizabeth Campbell, director of the UNRWA Representative Office of Washington.

“As a result of the US funding cuts, we are working hard to garner further financial support here and across the globe, and events like these can make a huge difference in the lives of these refugees.”

To arrange media interviews, contact Paige Kollock at paige@marathonstrategies.com

Details of the event are as follows:

When: Saturday, September 22, 2018

7:00 am – Gaza 5K packet and fundraising prize pick up; coffee and light breakfast

7:30 am – Roads close

8:00 am – Opening ceremony

8:30 am – Race begins

9:30 am – Awards ceremony followed by a dabke party, roads re-open

Where: Anacostia Park Boat Ramp, 1500 Anacostia Drive, Washington, DC 20020

Why: To support UNRWA programs addressing Palestine refugees’ mental health

Competitive awards will be given to the top female and male runners in the following age categories: 1-12, 13-19, 20-39, 40-59, and 60+. Trophies will be awarded for coolest costume, most marvelous “dabke” dancer, most creative team name, biggest crew, cutest four-legged participant, top fundraiser, top fundraising team, and most team spirit.

Further details available at gaza5k.org.



UNRWA USA is an independent nonprofit organization that provides support for the humanitarian work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). UNRWA USA aims to educate the general American public about the situation of Palestine refugees and generate support for UNRWA’s programs. US taxpayers are eligible for tax deductions for donations made through UNRWA USA.unrwausa.org | Facebook | Twitter