“Detroit — They came by foot, if they lived nearby and were physically able. They came by bus, if they were not. But one way or another, around 2,000 people, most of whom were poor or homeless, arrived Saturday to Detroit’s Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center for a “day of dignity” meant to uplift both giver and receiver.
What they found was empathy.
Imam Mika’il Stewart Saadiq, leader of the Muslim Center Mosque, said the event offers dignity for the helper, as much as it does people who benefit from the donations and the health screenings.
The mosque’s neighbor across the street, the Huda Clinic, sent eight volunteers to do offer blood pressure checks, eye exams and weigh ins.
Huda volunteer Uniaza Abrar, of Sterling Heights, has been helping at the clinic for most of her adult life, and she says she views the Day of Dignity as a chance to expand the clinic’s footprint – even if it’s just across the street.
The clinic’s services, including prescription fulfillment, are free. Dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and medical experts in a number of specialties including mental health, contribute care. Patients who need to see a doctor can do so free of charge.
But getting the word out is the real challenge, says Abrar.
“A lot of people don’t even know what we do,” the 22-year-old said. “People always think there’s a catch to it, but there isn’t.”
Lottie Barker-Usoro, 66, came to Day of Dignity on a bus that picked her up at Bethany Manor, on 14th Street, and would drop her off afterward. She arrived just after the first group of volunteers had completed its empathy training.
“This has been wonderful, and is well-appreciated,” Barker-Usoro said. Some bags of donations contained food that would help her get through the weekend. Others contained clothes to help get through the upcoming winter. She said she found the staff helpful and kind.”
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