The Youth Leadership program hosted its 9th Annual MLK Day “Feed Your Neighbor” event at the Beacon of Light Center (BOL) at Masjid Al Islam in downtown Dallas. The event brought together approximately 60 volunteers from TMWF youth and other organizations including, the Islamic Circle of North America, Islamic Relief USA, Brighter Horizons Academy, and the Flower Mound United Methodist Church. Thank you to all our volunteers who donated the food, supplies, and clothing.
In keeping with Dr. King’s legacy of service and promotion of the brotherhood of humanity, volunteers were moved by their experience. Irene Muturi, a friend of one of the TMWF families, was delighted to see youth coming in the morning on a school holiday to help others. “Hopefully I can continue helping this community regardless of the event…[This should not be] just a one day thing…[there’s an] ongoing need. Being with people of other faiths speaks to what MLK Day is all about: doing good and coming together of people of other faiths.”
TMWF youth, Anushe Sheikh, was surprised by the response of the needy who came, “I really like how polite and happy they are, despite their situation.” Yasmin Zeidan, a Brighter Horizons Academy (BHA) youth, felt that, “It was a great opportunity to see the community that we don’t usually see and a great opportunity to give back.” Her BHA school-mates, echoed her feelings, including Hana Awad, “To be honest I was going to stay home sleeping, but I’m so glad I came. Once I saw all their smiles it was all worth it.”
Other youth, such as Adam al-Asad, were contemplative. He wanted to tell others who might not have been able to volunteer on this day, “If you can’t feed a hundred people then just feed one.” Also, Amal Al-Hafi, who hadn’t volunteered at the Beacon of Light before, was profoundly touched by the experience. She reflected, “Giving back to the community is a gift to yourself.”
TMWF is grateful to the administration of BOL for opening up their facility to the youth volunteers. Sister Khadijeh Abdullah, the coordinator of the Health and Human Services of BOL expanded on their various services. Feeding programs from farmers’ market harvest projects and local restaurants help provide fresh produce for volunteers to cook at their facility, supplemented with frozen foods. Breakfasts are offered every weekend via various sponsors.
The BOL houses a donation room where volunteers can put together various hygiene and food kits. Food kits for the homeless are single use, including water, crackers, tea, candy, etc. Family pantry plus kits for needy families include oil, rice, and flour. The facility also has a reading and respite area with pencils, pens, paper, puzzle books, general books, magazines, games, and a microwave and popcorn. Through generous donations of large screen TVs and laptops they offer movie nights and computer classes. Cell phones are also available for usage in their facility.
Sister Khadijeh welcomes anyone who wants to come and help on Saturday mornings, from 9 am to noon. There are lockers for volunteers, a large kitchen area for food preparation and storage, and bathrooms. Sister Khadijeh concludes, “We are trying to make it a comforting and calming place.”
More information at http://www.masjidalislam.org/.