My Annual Olive Oil Party for PfP, by Karen Kovalcik

When I first learned of Playgrounds for Palestine’s incredible mission and gifts to children in need of hope, the obvious reaction was how can I help? After a few conversations, I found out about the wonderful olive oil that comes from this holy land and how the purchase of it brings goodness to so many. I had no idea of the reverence of the olive trees in this region of the world, and the history of these 2000+ year old trees. The privilege of having olive tree in ones’ family and passing them down through centuries of people, kingdoms, and conquests, makes me think of how wise these trees must be. The olive oil we gather from this most holy place, held dear to so many as the birthplace of our Lord, is like a fine wine, too complex to be understood and too divine to be appreciated.

I believe that this mystical quality of the olive tree is what draws so many to my party each year. This party serves a couple of purposes: to get together with friends, to support and learn about the incredible work of the PFP organization, and to taste this delicious oil. I remember the first year I tried to garner support for PFP through selling the olive oil, and the most hysterical memory was how grass roots this movement really is. Like most of you, I’m sure you’ve experienced the onslaught of home parties where you can buy anything from jeans to pizza stones. After initially fielding requests for a catalog (of the olive oil), I realized just how far fetched it was in our culture to be selling a product from a farmer in the Middle East that was so thankful for our support, and how the proceeds were benefiting the region by installing playgrounds for the children to enjoy. Once this narrative caught on, the overwhelming support from friends, family, and community was a sure sign of the generosity of Americans to those in an unjust world.

If you are moved by the information in this article and would like to know more about how to have a party to support Playgrounds for Palestine by selling this wonderful oil, please don’t hesitate to contact me. My e-mail is [email protected] and I would happy to answer any questions you may have. I hope you’ve had the chance to try the olive oil from Palestine and share in its beauty and complexity. Enjoy!

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Play, while it cannot change the external realities of children’s lives, can be a vehicle for children to explore and enjoy their differences and similarities and to create, even for a brief time, a more just world where everyone is an equal and valued participant.