Although Abdulrahman Odeh moved out of Palestine at age 1, his home country always remained close to his heart. As a child, he felt sad when he heard about the suffering of his people on the news. In high school, he led a Palestinian student union to help spread the reality of what was going on in Palestine. Eventually, the young man became an employee of one of the largest Muslim charities in the United States, the Holy Land Foundation.
A year after his birth in Silwad, Palestine in 1959, Mr. Odeh moved to Kuwait. He lived there for about 20 years before moving to the United States in 1982. He finished his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Montclair State College in New Jersey in 1989. He worked in his own vending machine business for nearly a decade and as a limo driver for three years before opening Holy Land Foundation’s New Jersey office in 1994.
During his course of work, Mr. Odeh traveled the world to help those in need. In 1996, he visited the Palestinian city of Rafah and hand-delivered 50 tons of flour, 50 tons of rice and 50 tons of sugar for 294 families. In Ramadan of 1997, he helped distribute 100 food packages to several Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan. In 1999, he traveled to Albania for one month and gave out 1,000 tons of flour, two ambulances and a mobile bakery. That same year, he opened up a food pantry in Patterson, New Jersey that benefited over 200 needy families. Mr. Odeh also represented the HLF in many United Nation events in Egypt and Jordan.
Mr. Odeh currently has three American-born children: Lena, Abdulkareem and Mohamad. To family and friends, Mr. Odeh is a humorous, honest and caring individual. In his own words:
“I’ve always liked to help others.”