Volunteers pack food for needy during Ramadan
Volunteers packed more than 1,000 boxes of staples Sunday to give to those who need extra food during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Islamic Relief USA partnered with the Islamic Center of Detroit to pack boxes filled with rice, flour, pasta, sugar and over a dozen other nonperishable goods for families in the community who will fast during the religious observance.
“There’s families that work but they make enough money to either pay rent or pay groceries but not enough to do both, so were assigning this to low-income families and refugee families, so when they break their fast they have something to break their fast with,” said Wsmah Siddiqui, the organization’s volunteer coordinator.
About 80 volunteers joined in packing the food at the Detroit center. They assembled boxes, added food items, loaded boxes onto pallets and did other jobs to reach their goal of 1,000 boxes.
Every time the volunteers finished a pallet, which holds 28 boxes, they clapped and cheered.
Abdul-Kader Azrak, 19, donated to Islamic Relief before and was asked to volunteer via text. He taped the completed boxes to the secure them on the pallets.
“They were saying it was for Ramadan packaging and I was like, ‘Why not? I am free. I’ll come and help,” said Azrak, whose family is from Syria.
Islamic Relief USA is a nonprofit humanitarian agency.
Layla Zedan of Canton Township opened small boxes with her three children as a part of the assembly line.
“This is our first time here. My dad used to come to this mosque about 20 years ago. We’re super excited to be here. The kids are having so much fun,” said Zedan, 41.
The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is marked by daily fasting from dawn to sunset, ending with the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr. It is celebrated on the ninth month of the lunar year, which, in the U.S., is March 22 through April 21 this year.
The national organization bought the nonperishables through donations and will provide local nonprofits with boxed food. The giveaways are even more important, organizers say, with inflation and benefit cuts to nutrition programs.
“We do this every year, but we increased the number of boxes this year because there’s more families in need. We increased the number of projects nationally as well,” Siddiqui said.
The boxes will be distributed through the first week of Ramadan.
“We do this ever year, but we increased the number of boxes this year because there’s more families in need. We increased the number of projects nationally as well.” — Wsmah Siddiqui, Islamic Relief USA volunteer coordinator