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Muslim students help stock food pantry at Episcopal church

21 October 2013 General 13 Comments Email This Post Email This Post
Nine-year-old students (from left) Maryam Mustapha, Reem Fayed, Salma Amrou and Sumaya Fawaz sort donations to the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church food pantry. The Iqra Academy of Virginia students collected and donated food to the church’s program.

Nine-year-old students (from left) Maryam Mustapha, Reem Fayed, Salma Amrou and Sumaya Fawaz sort donations to the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church food pantry. The Iqra Academy of Virginia students collected and donated food to the church’s program.

BY ZACHARY REID Richmond Times-Dispatch

Muslim students help stock the food pantry at an Episcopal church

Nameera Perwez picked up on her lesson fast, and she was eager to put it in action.

This is the season for sacrifice in the Muslim community, and the fifth-grader from the Iqra Academy of Virginia had something in mind she wanted to share: food.

For more than an hour Friday, she and 10 classmates from the small Muslim primary school in South Richmond were at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church helping sort canned goods and other nonperishable items they’d just donated to the community food pantry.

“Other people need your help, and you need to help them,” Nameera said as she and classmate Fatin Salman prepared paper grocery bags. “You can’t be greedy. You need to help them.”

Fatin agreed. “The lesson is, you have to care about other people,” she said. “We can help feed other people.”

St. Stephen’s can, too.

Every week, the West End church gives out food to anyone who needs it. Most weeks, they give two bags full of groceries to 60 or 70 families. In September, they helped feed 751 people.

“You’d be surprised who comes through,” said Deb Lawrence, the outreach coordinator at the church.

She said the presumption that the economy is improving hasn’t proven true at St. Stephen’s. Twice in the past year or so, they’ve seen seen increases in the number of families asking for help.

Some people come from the neighborhood, others travel from the East End for the bags full of canned goods, pasta, cereal and other necessities.

“It used to be (that) it was rare we’d get 50 families in a week,” she said. “Last week, we had 65.”

Cyndy Seal, the volunteer coordinator for the food pantry, said about 40 percent of the food comes through the parish as donations and the other 60 percent comes from the Central Virginia Food Bank, which sells food in bulk for 19 cents a pound. So far this year, they’ve purchased nearly 7 tons of food and give away more than 10 tons.

“The need is always greater than what we have,” Lawrence said.

Feras Abuzayda, the principal of Iqra Academy, said his school’s participation was part of its dedication to interfaith service.

“This is a way for our students to make a connection with their creator and to spend time being a good neighbor,” he said.

Fourth-grade teacher Soha Wadi and fifth-grade teacher Madiha Talat watched as their students unpacked bags, sorted food and began repacking based on specific lists that church has honed through the years.

“I hope they learn compassion and learning,” Talat said. “We’re part of a bigger community. This is their chance to become aware that they can help people who are less fortunate. Every little bit helps.”

zreid@timesdispatch.com

(804) 775-8179

Original post: Muslim students help stock food pantry at Episcopal church

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13 Comments »

  1. Great stuff. Several of my neighbors here at my apartment building regularly go to a nearby Muslim food bank. It works for them. <3

  2. Good people do good things….. been going on for ever..

  3. These students are from my community. Happy to see this here. ;) Ma sha’Allah. Truely what God likes.

  4. If the government weren’t so busy spending money in unnessecary wars there would be more

  5. My Muslim ‘niece’ has helped serve pancake breakfast at a Lutheran Church. Grace In the City: Grace Lutheran Church Good people do good things…

  6. wonder if a teabagger would refuse food from this food pantry because Muslims are working there?

  7. I want to see more of this. There is so much that people of different religions agree on that can unite us in community. We must move beyond toleration to walking side-by-side.

  8. Freedom of religion is fundamental to America being America. Eid mubarak.

  9. Proof that they aren’t jihadists!!

  10. love it being Episcopal myself.

  11. :)

  12. This totally made my day. Being Episcopal myself this does my heart well to see this. If anyone is curious to sum up our faith, we are like Liberal Catholics. These kids are angels that walk amongst us mortals to make this world we live in a better place.

  13. poisened

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