Alexandria, Virginia – Islamic Relief USA, a non-profit humanitarian and advocacy organization, has awarded a total of $76,250 in grants to eight organizations throughout the country to help feed kids during the summer, as part of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Summer Food Service Program.
Summers can be a time of mixed emotions. On the one hand, many kids are on vacation and get to enjoy the warm weather by playing with friends and spending time with family. What is less known is that many children also experience hunger, or at the very least, food insecurity. That’s because they lack access to nutritious lunches they would have received while attending school. Fortunately, with the grants provided by Islamic Relief USA, children under the age of 18 who come from low-income households that qualify for free or reduced-price lunch will continue to have access to a nutritious mid-day meal during their summer breaks, thanks to summer lunch programs that are being provided by various organizations, houses of worship, and other entities.
“Every year, Islamic Relief USA looks to support underprivileged young people and families through our summer feeding grant program,” said Naeem Muhammad, U.S. Programs Manager for Islamic Relief USA. “There are so many children receiving at least one meal during the school year. We continue that service during the summer. These grants, in coordination with the sites of the program, make it possible to continue providing nutritious meals to those kids during their summer vacations, and they also provide communities some peace of mind. We are committed to continuing this program in the future.”
Islamic Relief USA grants will help provide meals to more than 6,800 children. The entities that received the grants are:
- Women and Families Ascending Association – Wayne, NJ
- D&R Sports Institute – Marrero, LA
- James MB Church – St. Louis, MO
- Zaman International [Al- Salam Community Center, Ideal Islamic Center, and Edsel Ford High School] – Inkster, MI
- Masjid an Nur (Al Maaa’uun) [includes the following centers: Run & Shoot, Al Ansar, Smiles Childcare, Learn & Play, Al Iman (Tawfiq), Agape Child Care, and Juxtaposition] – Minneapolis, MI
- Al Maun (Neighborly Needs) – Las Vegas, NV.
- Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village – Flint, MI
- Citiwide – Washington, D.C.
More than 22 million children and teens receive free or reduced-price lunches during the school year through the National School Lunch Program, according to the USDA. However, as of last year, only one out of those six kids participated in the summer meals programs, increasing the likelihood of them going hungry.
Inadequate nutrition can have a devastating impact in the lives of children. Hunger can affect brain development and makes it more difficult for them to concentrate and learn in school, putting them at risk for chronic health issues and performing poorly on achievement tests.
The USDA, which encourages summer meal programs like the ones supported by Islamic Relief USA, recommends that healthy lunches include fresh fruits, whole grains, colorful vegetables, proteins such as lean meats, and low-fat dairy products.
Minhaj Hassan, Syedhassan@irusa.org or 703-370-7246
Islamic Relief USA, based in Alexandria, Va., is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization. Its mission is to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy and disease regardless of color, race, gender or creed, and to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner. Islamic Relief USA aims to provide rapid relief in the event of human and natural disasters and to establish sustainable local development projects, allowing communities to better help themselves. Its programs benefit millions of people each year around the world, including in the United States.
Islamic Relief USA meets all of the Standards for Charity Accountability of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a national charity monitoring group affiliated with the Better Business Bureau system. Islamic Relief USA is on the U.S. government’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) charity list, and it is also a signatory to the code of conduct of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.