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Islamic Center tackles hunger with more than 30,000 meals

5 November 2013 General No Comment Email This Post Email This Post
Mirza Ahmed Baig, left, and Shahzaib Khan on Sunday take turns inserting ingredients into food bags designed for international relief at the Islamic Center of Central Missouri. Each bag contained rice, soy, a vitamin packet and dehydrated vegetables. More than 200 volunteers gathered to package 30,000 meals.

Mirza Ahmed Baig, left, and Shahzaib Khan on Sunday take turns inserting ingredients into food bags designed for international relief at the Islamic Center of Central Missouri. Each bag contained rice, soy, a vitamin packet and dehydrated vegetables. More than 200 volunteers gathered to package 30,000 meals.

By ASHLEY JOST

The Islamic Center of Central Missouri celebrated its 30-year anniversary by challenging members and others in the community to help prepackage 30,000 meals to send to children in need overseas.

ICCM called the event “Spread Peace, Feed the Hungry,” and the effort made the center the first Muslim organization to follow the lead of the Islamic Society of North America in hosting the volunteer event to help end world hunger.

About 150 men, women and children, ranging in age from 8 to 88 came out to help the center reach its goal. In just a little more than two hours — because of time during the event devoted to prayer — the goal was exceeded, yielding 30,024 prepackaged meals.

“Every 30 seconds a person dies because of hunger-related disease,” Rashed Nizam, chairman of the ICCM’s Shura Council, said. “So when you hear that, you’re responsible to do something.”

The meals included soy wheat, rice, dehydrated vegetables and a vitamin and flavoring package. One bag is the equivalent of six meals. Nizam said the food is sent to schools in as many as 34 different countries.

“This is part of our religious teaching,” he said. “Spread peace and feed the hungry was one of the earlier things” Muhammad “said when he migrated to Medina. You’re supposed to feed the hungry out of your love without expecting anything in return.”

ICCM worked with Stop Hunger Now, which brings the food and supplies to the group providing the manpower. Meals cost 25 cents each, amounting to $7,500 total for 30,000 meals. Nizam said ICCM collected $2,500 from members, and the rest came from co-sponsors the Islamic Society of North America and the Zakat Foundation.

Representatives from both co-sponsoring organizations attended the event, flying in from Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Muhammad Elsanousi, ISNA communications director, said the Islamic Society’s national convention Sept. 1 in Washington, D.C., held a similar event with Stop Hunger Now during which members from across the country compiled 50,000 meals in two hours.

“The purpose was to inspire communities across the nation to do exactly the same,” Elsanousi said. “Columbia, Mo., is the first Muslim community to actually sponsor” the “Stop the Hunger project with the co-sponsor of the Islamic Society of North America. Next month, we’re doing the same thing in Baltimore. The purpose was to inspire the community, but now we can see results.”

Rezwan Islam, an Islamic Center member and volunteer, said he took part because “feeding people is one of the noblest things to do.” Islam said he prays five times a day with other members of the center and that it is a nice break to do a service event like this with those same people.

Baylee Delaurier, Stop Hunger Now Kansas City program director, said ICCM will get an update in a few months about which countries the food volunteers packaged is headed to.

“Remember, it’s not just a hand out like, ‘Here’s some food'; it’s a hand up,” Delaurier told the group around the 20,000-meal mark.

This article was published in the Monday, November 4, 2013 edition of the Columbia Daily Tribune with the headline “Center tackles hunger: 30,024 meals exceed goals.”

Original post: Islamic Center tackles hunger with more than 30,000 meals

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