SHAFAQNA – A Muslim group is more than tripling its past charity efforts and giving out more than 5,000 free turkeys to needy families at schools on the south lakefront Tuesday.
The Sabeel Food Pantry will continue a 15-year tradition and pass out the Thanksgiving turkeys at eight schools starting at 9 a.m.
Dr. Jihad Shoshara, the lead coordinator for the past 10 years, said it’s a way to give back to the community in a way that boosts a sense of respect by allowing people to join in on an American holiday that otherwise couldn’t.
“It’s not just charity, it’s something that really means something to people,” Shoshara said. “They can now do what other Americans are doing all across the country.”
Organizers said that the drive shows how Muslims for years have been ingrained in the fabric of American society and the effort runs counter to the portrayal of Muslims during the election year.
“In this year of divisive political rhetoric which has stoked misperceptions and stereotypes of Muslim Americans, this is a clear example of Muslims not only giving back but leading the effort of giving back and extending a helping hand,” organizers said in a press release.
In a video of last year’s effort, turkeys were passed out with a card that said, “Happy Thanksgiving From Your Muslim Neighbor.”