Homelessness, hunger, poverty, lack of clean water access, sanitation, and health care aren’t just international problems. They exist right here at home in our neighborhoods. The end of 2020 brought the sharpest rise in the U.S. poverty rate since the 1960s, according to a study by the University of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame, placing the poverty rate now at 11.8%.
Much, but not all, of this can be attributed to the coronavirus pandemic, but the suffering of so many American families extends well beyond that:
For instance, “Black Americans were more than twice as likely to be poor as their White counterparts in December—an improvement from the summer months when they were nearly three times more apt to live in poverty—but an increase from before the pandemic, when the differential was under 2,” adds the Bloomberg article that cited the study.
And when disaster strikes, like brutal winter weather, tornadoes, wildfires, or man-made tragedies, the need for urgent aid and support grows exponentially especially for families already vulnerable to poverty and suffering.
As Islam teaches us, charity starts at home, and that’s why Islamic Relief USA is dedicated to supporting work across America that makes sure families have shelter, kids have food, and disaster survivors and refugees get the support they need. In 2020 alone, IRUSA reached vulnerable communities in more than 350 cities nationwide!
And this Ramadan, 51 organizations will help IRUSA distribute much-needed food across the country. By working together, we will distribute more than 6,300 food boxes, support some 34 food pantries, and reach about 90,000 people in need across 17 states and D.C.!
Here’s just a sampling of our recent efforts across the U.S.
As much as we’ve been able to achieve in helping our neighbors in need, there is still so much more to do. If we work together—with YOU—we can make the vision of a better living condition for our vulnerable community members a reality.
Please donate now and help break the chains of poverty and pain for our most-vulnerable neighbors.
Basher was the first client of a special program IRUSA donors put together to help refugees new to North Carolina, by providing support like rent assistance and case management, as well as guiding them through social services and getting them acclimated to their new communities. What made this program really special is that it was dedicated to those who have had difficulty settling because of medical conditions or psychological trauma and low English proficiency.
Basher, a refugee from Syria, was this program’s first client.
His road to North Carolina was difficult: He was tortured in Syria, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. He escaped with his mother, and now found himself in a completely new place, not knowing how to restart.
In comes the IRUSA Refugee program. Basher made this important connection and got to work right away on setting himself up for success. He started taking English lessons for 20 hours a week. IRUSA’s regional case manager Wasif Qureshi, who worked directly with Basher, added that Basher noted that he wanted to work with computers or be a translator. As he worked first on creating a resume and improving his English, Basher set his sights on getting a job.
Two years after coming to the States, Basher had enrolled in college. Throughout his studies, Basher has maintained a 4.0 GPA (grade point average) and is dedicated to keep that streak going. On top of that, Basher and his mother have moved to a new home through the help of IRUSA, and Basher is going through physical therapy.
But the most remarkable part of his journey so far is likely this: Earlier this year, he took his first steps upstairs!! And with therapy he hopes he can do more.