Muslim Group Coordinates Nationwide To Serve Homeless -IRUSA

Muslims to Provide Food, Clothing, Health Screenings to Needy
Posted on 9/25/2007

BUENA PARK, CA (September 20, 2007) – For the sixth consecutive year, Muslims across the United States will be taking to the streets to help serve the homeless while fasting in the month of Ramadan.

The annual Humanitarian Day for the homeless event, coordinated nationwide by Islamic Relief for the third year, is expanding to 19 cities this year and will serve an estimated 25,000 needy people in the weekend of Sept. 29-30.

Last year’s event helped serve over 18,000 homeless and needy people in 14 cities across the United States. Muslims throughout the participating cities helped serve food and other much-needed supplies as they observed their fast in the holy month of Ramadan. Volunteers in the 14 cities converged in local neighborhoods to provide essentials to the homeless such as a warm meal, a gift package including hygiene and emergency kits, bath towels, clothing, blankets, ponchos, and toys for children.

In addition, free of charge HIV/AIDS screenings, flu vaccinations, educational materials and referral information were also provided. “Government entities, community organizations and religious institutions are among the partners for Humanitarian Day,” said Clareen Menzies, Islamic Relief’s Domestic Projects Manager. “In 2006, a total of 102 partners scattered across the country assisted volunteer groups,” she said. “My first experience of Humanitarian Day was something I will never forget; something I will probably carry for the rest of my life,” noted a first-time volunteer. “Physically helping people less fortunate than I am was something different from giving zakah (mandatory almsgiving for Muslims). My main goal wasn’t to hand out shirts or supplies, it was just to bring a smile to their faces and bring a little hope to their lives.

The people were so polite, thankful and humorous that I couldn’t help but smile to myself.” The Boston Herald reported, “‘You don’t see much out there to try to help people who are in need,’ a homeless veteran said…It was a declaration of appreciation for the ‘Humanitarian Day for the Homeless’ event at the center, sponsored by Islamic Relief.” Islamic Relief’s domestic projects have increased tremendously over the years.

In addition to responding to emergencies such as Hurricane Katrina – where $3.2 million in aid has helped over 60,000 people – Islamic Relief is continuously involved in assisting needy individuals and families within the U.S. and working with community organizations to improve people’s livelihoods. Media professionals may contact Islamic Relief for further background on ‘Humanitarian Day’ and interviews with organizers.

WHAT: 6th Annual ‘Humanitarian Day’ for the Homeless

WHEN: Saturday and Sunday September 29-30, 2007

WHERE: Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Elizabeth-NJ, Fort Thompson-SD, Houston, Kalamazoo-MI, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, Washington DC

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