RELIGION

American Muslims Join Forces For National Muslim Soup Kitchen Day

Muslims around the country served over 3,000 hot meals to the hungry in their communities on Saturday, April 30.

Hundreds of American Muslims around the country joined forces on Saturday to put their faith into action. 

At least 23 teams from mosques, Muslim student clubs, and faith-based non-profits signed up to serve in soup kitchens across the country for the first National Muslim Soup Kitchen Day. In total, the volunteers cooked and distributed more than 3,000 meals throughout the day in New York, Florida, Alabama, and seven other states, according to the Muslim Soup Kitchen Project (MSKP), the New York-based organization that coordinated the national event.

A tiny volunteer from Alabama's Birmingham Islamic Society serves food for National Muslim Soup Kitchen Day.
A tiny volunteer from Alabama's Birmingham Islamic Society serves food for National Muslim Soup Kitchen Day.

Uzma Popal, director of MSKP, told The Huffington Post that this is the kind of charity that Muslim non-profits and other faith-based service organizations perform regularly. But she believed a national service day would challenge people who aren't normally involved in this kind of work to start seeing the need in their communities.

"There were many people that did it for the first time," Popal told The Huffington Post about the event. "We hope they see that this is really nice and they're going to continue doing it every month."

Volunteers prepare a meal in Schenectady, NY.
Volunteers prepare a meal in Schenectady, NY.

In the Capital Region of New York, where MSKP is based, Popal said that 200 volunteers signed up as cooks, drivers, and soup kitchen servers. They helped out at 8 local shelters and at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York's Farm.

At a time when more Islamophobic rhetoric and hate crimes seem to pop up every month, Popal said that she hopes the national service day will help create unity. 

Reflecting on how hard volunteers from around the country worked to make the day a success, Popal said that event helped remind her of "how wonderful people are."

"Yes, there are some not-so-nice people; but overall, the world's a great place," she said. "We need to concentrate on the good things that everyone's doing."

"It was just beautiful seeing everybody come together."

A group of Muslim women from New Jersey participated in the national service day.
A group of Muslim women from New Jersey participated in the national service day.
HuffPost

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