: "Volunteers help families living with food insecurity during Ramadan" - Islamic Relief USA

The following is an excerpt from an article posted in the in April 2018: 

“ PATERSON — Under a beaming sun, dozens of volunteers in royal-blue shirts spent hours on Sunday packing 1,000 boxes to the brim with food that advocates said could feed a family of four for at least a week.

The boxes will be distributed during the first two weeks of Ramadan in May to families facing food insecurity throughout the state, New York and Pennsylvania, said Naeem Muhammad, the program manager for Islamic Relief USA.

About 120 volunteers showed up to the parking lot of the Islamic Center of Passaic County throughout the day wearing shirts with the organization’s logo and motto: “Working together for a better world.”

“I feel like I’m getting in touch with my inner humanitarian today,” said Ayah Suleiman, 20, of East Hanover. She said it was her first time volunteering with the organization.

“I’m just envisioning the mom and the child, or whoever opens up the box, saying, ‘Well, we’re not going to be hungry this Ramadan.’ That’s really why I’m here today,” Suleiman said.

She and others assembled the boxes, packed them up with food staples like rice, flour, salt and beans, and sealed them for delivery to families in need. Each 40-pound box could sustain a family for up to two weeks, Muhammad said.

Islamic Relief USA also held food packing sessions Sunday in Texas, Virginia and Illinois. The organization’s goal was to assemble 5,000 boxes, which would be distributed to families through local food pantries, houses of worship or other community centers.

“During Ramadan, it is essential for Muslims to not only fast from sunrise to sunset, [but] it also is a time to reflect, to think about people in your community with little means, especially with regards to healthy food,” National Volunteers Manager Said Durrah said.

Islamic Relief, the global nonprofit, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and it has been hosting these food packing sessions for as long as it’s been around, Muhammad said.

For nine years, Saja Awad, 24, of Paterson has been volunteering with the local chapter.

“As people who grew up privileged — and I consider myself privileged even though I grew up in Paterson — we have to be humble about our upbringing and make sure we give back as much as we can,” Awad said.           ”


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