Yassin Terou knows what it’s like to depend on the community to get re-established.
Terou is the owner of Yassin Falafel House in Knoxville — and a Syrian refugee. So as soon as he heard about the tornadoes in Middle Tennessee, he started driving west.
He and a team of volunteers are now cooking out of Casa Azafran’s community kitchen, delivering meals to hundreds of survivors and volunteers.
“I’m doing this because when I came here people helped me a lot,” he says. “People gave me the American dream. They gave me a second chance [at] life. I want to make sure I’m giving a second chance…for people who just experienced a tornado.”
This isn’t the first time Yassin has responded in a crisis. He donated meals to people affected by Hurricane Florence, and he ran a bottled water drive after the Gatlinburg wildfires.
Now, in Nashville, he’s prepping traditional Mediterranean meals to send out to the relief efforts: roasted chicken and rice, hummus and avocado toast, and eggs with tomato, cheese and cucumber.
But Yassin knows that his two days in Nashville are not enough, so he’s partnered with the American Muslim Advisory Council and Murfreesboro Muslim Youth. They’re gathering donations, working in the kitchen, connecting with local restaurants and setting up a plan to continue this service for at least a couple of weeks.
“When I came here,” says Yassin, “people around the country cared about me. So, it’s time for me to give the love back.”