Two Michigan cities are about to compete to help other countries devastated by natural disasters.
Ticket sales from a charity basketball showdown Friday (March 17) between Hamtramck and Dearborn are going to Syria, Turkey, and Yemen.
They want to raise more than $10,000.
“It’s a beautiful way to communicate a message of one person’s struggles,” said Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud. “We all struggle, and this is one thing that we could do to help uplift people all around the world.”
Last year, OZ Media, out of Hamtramck and Dearborn nonprofit CRSD, hosted a Hamtramck vs. Dearborn charity basketball game. Together they raised $8,000 to help people in Yemen.
Omar Thabet of OZ Media said it did make an impact.
“They show us video of the people receiving food and housing,” said Thabet. “They’re in tears, they appreciate us so much, and honestly, there are so many people that need help out there. This is just a small dent into what really needs to happen.”
After an earthquake struck parts of Turkey and Syria, killing more than 52,000 people, Thabet said that this year they wanted to support those countries too.
Hammoud believes it makes sense for the two communities to come together.
“It’s no secret that Dearborn and Hamtramck host global communities, a lot of immigrants and refugees reside within our cities,” Hammoud said. “It’s what makes us so beautiful. I am a son of immigrants, and Hamtramck’s mayor is an immigrant himself.”
At 6 p.m. Friday, in Dearborn High School’s gym, Dearborn and Hamtramck will go head-to-head again. And yes, there will be some trash-talking.
“I’m excited for Friday because we have to make a statement on our home turf,” Hammoud said. “We lost last year, and that was an away game, and now we have an opportunity to redeem ourselves.”
No matter who wins, everyone leaves knowing they made a difference.
“We have people who live in the communities, so it means a lot, even more, but you don’t have to be from that country to understand, to help out those countries in need,” Thabet said. “You have a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and the earthquake devastated those other regions, Turkey and Syria. They need the help.”
Players are from a 35 and up league. Hammoud will be playing with Team Dearborn, and social media influencer Halal Food Junkie will be playing with Team Hamtramck.
Tickets will only be available at the door.