By Summayah Ahmed
|Dr. Muzammil Ahmed, Chairman, addressing the audience.|
On August 22nd in Detroit, the Michigan Muslim Community Council (MMCC) and the United Way of Southeastern Michigan hosted the â€œRamadan Fight Against Hungerâ€ celebration recognizing the efforts of dozens of Muslim volunteers and organizations who collectively fed over 25,000 people this Ramadan. The Ramadan Fight Against Hunger was a joint project in partnership with United Way of Southeastern Michigan, MMCC, Zaman International, Muslim Family Services, Gleaners Food Bank, and many local mosques. The MMCC has been serving the community since 1988 and is formally known as CIOM and ISCOM.
Panelists who spoke at the event included Michael Duggan, CEO of the Detroit Medical Center, Najah Bazzy, the president of Zaman International, Michael Brennan, CEO of United Way of Southeastern Michigan, and Muzammil Ahmed, chairperson of MMCC. The panelists congratulated the community for providing essential services to Michiganâ€™s impoverished areas. Brennan thanked the efforts of the Muslim community and looked forward to ongoing collaboration.
Syed Mohiuddin said, â€œIt is amazing to see how many Muslims in Michigan are working to help their neighbors. We want to recognize their efforts and be inspired by their activities.â€ According to the United Way, 1 in 5 Michigan residents are struggling to find affordable and nutritious food. Michigan has been amongst the hardest hit states economically.
There were many efforts recognized at the Fight Against Hunger event. The volunteers from the Tawheed Center in Farmington Hills packed 6 trucks with food boxes filled with food items such as cereal, sugar, pastas, and other non perishable goods. According to Muqsid Syed, the Tawheed Center volunteers provided over 15,000 meals to local families.
Zaman International, a Michigan based charitable organization, packed ethnically appropriate food items in baskets which were distributed to over 300 families. They collected 14,180 lbs of food and raised over $30,000 to purchase meat and other perishable items for distribution. Najah Bazzy said her organizations collaboration with other local groups allowed them to significantly increase their food capacity this Ramadan.
Many local mosques and youth groups also conducted food drives. The youth group in the Canton mosque, MCWS, led by 11th grader Hassan Ahmed, orchestrated a food drive that collected over 2,000 pounds of food goods. Coordinators Anas Alkatib of MMCC and Sabrina Ali also took kids to food pantries for packing and serving the food. Nimra Hasan, 10th graders stated, â€œit really was awesome to help people while we are fasting. I think Ramadan really makes you realize how lucky we are and how much we need to give it up.â€
Other mosques participating in the food drive were the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Muslim Center of Ann Arbor mosque, IAGD of Rochester Hills, Unity Center of Bloomfield Hills, IONA of Warren, and the Muslim Community Center and the Islamic Center of Detroit. Over 2 tons of food were collected this Ramadan by these mosques.
Several mosques and services had their own soup kitchens or Ramadan dinners provided for the community. The Detroit Muslim Mission and Masjid Walli Muhammad, the original mosque where Malcolm X preached, have been feeding underprivileged neighbors for many years. Other efforts recognized at the event included those of Impact : Muslims Making a Difference. These volunteers fed Masjid al-Haqq in Detroit once a week by collecting donated hot meals and delivering it in the evening for local congregants and neighbors.
More information on the Michigan Fight Against Hunger can be found at www.mimuslimcouncil.com.