Sixteen years ago, a third grader from Chicago told his teacher his only wish for the holiday season. All he wanted was some food in the refrigerator at his home. It was shocking for teacher Sadia Warsi to hear such a wish from a child in the United States.
Along with her attorney husband Kamran Memon called out the Muslim community of the city for help. Ever since, Chicago’s Muslim community has been giving out free turkeys to families of students from public schools on Thanksgiving. Most of the beneficiaries are underprivileged families from the South Side of the city. In fact, this year the number of turkeys donated was a whopping 5000. This is three times the number of turkeys donated last year.
“The turkey drive is a small way in which I feel that I can give back,” said Dr Jihad Shoshara. He is now looking after the annual turkey drive of the community with his wife Dr Sofia Shakir. Shoshara said the project puts into practice Muslim teachings and fulfills one of the five pillars of Islam called zakat, or charity. He quotes Prophet Muhammad, who had once said, “He is not a believer whose stomach is filled while the neighbor to his side goes hungry.”
The program that started with one school has now expanded to eight. Chicago-based Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America, the largest halal certifier in the U.S. that also runs the Sabeel Food Pantry, has partnered with community for this expansion.
The Muslim community of Chicago has proven that a few well-meaning people can make a difference in the lives of many people. And it all started with one individual’s conviction. You can do so, too. This Thanksgiving, reach out to your community to raise funds for a cause you believe in. On Crowdera, you can create a crowdfunding campaign for FREE!