US Muslims help collect food for the destitutes

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SHAFAQNA – A small army of volunteers gathered at Zaman International’s Inkster site Monday night, rushing to count, sort and pack an estimated 5,000 canned goods.

The rows of cans filled with tomatoes, corn, soup and other items all were collected over 13 days last month for a cause: a drive the nonprofit Zaman and Michigan Muslim Community Council coordinated as part of “FeedTheirLegacy,” a campaign inspired by the victims of the fatal shooting this year in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Honoring the example set by one of those slain, Deah Barakat, whose final Facebook post showed him feeding the homeless, campaign organizers asked Muslims nationwide to counter hate with kindness and community support. The effort has spurred nearly 290 food drives, collected more than 172,000 cans and raised at least $21,000, according to the FeedTheirLegacy website.

“It’s amazing to see the legacy these kids left behind. I know they would be so happy to see how people stepped up their game nationwide to feed the hungry,” said Sumaiya Ahmed, MMCC communications director, who coordinated the local campaign efforts. “Instead of acting back with hate or getting mad we wanted to show our love.”

In Michigan, nine groups heeded the call: Islamic Cultural Institute, Islamic Organization of North America, Islamic Association of Greater Detroit, American Muslim Diversity Association, Muslim Unity Center, Tawheed Center, Iranian Graduate Association of UM Ann Arbor, Muslim Student Association of Oakland University, Huda School and Montessori.

Some of the participants garnered drop-offs from the Jewish and Christian communities, while others contributed money, Ahmed said.

The canned goods are set to be distributed to families in need through Zaman International, she said.

The campaign’s success could pave the way for similar collaborations in Metro Detroit, Ahmed said. “We want to do more efforts like this in the future.”

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