“I was woken up at five in the morning by the sound of pounding on my door,” said Omar Ezubeik, a Tripolitan. “It was...
Syrian opposition leaders are calling for urgent international intervention in the besieged city of Homs, located 100...
From the Blog
Local Muslims feed and clothe the needy
Describing the Humanitarian Day event in Pasadena, Jihad Abdu-Shakoor said, “We’re a cog in the machine.” For the past four years, he and many other local Muslims have been hosting a homeless feeding day during the month of Ramadan. “We provide meals. One brother who owns KFC donated barbeque chicken this year,” said Abdu-Shakoor. “We had meals and hygiene packs that included soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, a towel, a razor, and shampoo. We also pass out socks and blankets,” he added.
Humanitarian Day (HD) is the largest collective Muslim organized charitable event in America. This event highlights Muslims working with other faiths to serve those in need. The most important aspect of this day is treating those served with respect, love, and dignity in combination with giving away various gift items and health screening services.
Humanitarian Day is a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization that provides food and clothing to the poor and homeless and incarcerated inmates within predominantly low-income urban areas regardless of race, gender, religion or age. Humanitarian Day extends its services to the rest of California as well as the country at large and even international communities.
Volunteers pass out meals and hygiene kits at the Pasadena Central Park, and then send out teams to the surrounding areas to find other people who might be in need. If there are any packets and food left, they usually end up on 6th and Wall Street in downtown Los Angeles, where they are given out to individuals in need. “This year, Pasadena was a little slower. Usually we serve around two hundred and seventy-five people at the park,” Abdu-Shakoor said. “Due to the heat wave, our numbers were definitely affected. We only had about a hundred people at the park. But throughout the day, we probably touched at least three hundred to four hundred people,” he added.
Abdu-Shakoor coordinates the event on behalf of Masjid AT-Taqwa in Altadena, along with Levent Akburat from La Cañada Islamic Congregation. Their event is part of the larger Humanitarian Day campaign, which hosted events this year in Santa Ana, Long Beach, Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles, Pasadena, Upland and the Bilal Islamic Center near downtown. Over three thousand people were served through the various Humanitarian Day events.
When asked how he got involved in Humanitarian Day, Abdu-Shakoor credits Imam Saaddiq Safir and Naim Shah, Jr. “I had been doing homeless feedings for 15 years with Masjid Ibaadillah in Ramadan. Naim knew me from there,” said Abdu-Shakoor. Imam Safir and Shah co-founded the ILM Foundation (ILM means “knowledge” in Arabic) which is the custodian of Humanitarian Day. It has grown tremendously in the past ten years. Abdu-Shakoor added that during Ramadan they used to go down to Skid Row almost every night. They have also held events in Ghana and Indonesia. “We have gotten support from the Church of Latter-Day Saints, which donates hygiene kits, and JC Penney, which donates backpacks,” he said. “This year, we did not get support from the Church or JC Penney, but the Muslim community in Los Angeles and Orange County put together two thousand hygiene kits.”
Perhaps the most touching part of the day was seeing how Humanitarian Day stimulated others to help. “Before the event, we passed out flyers at a local shelter, and people were calling to ask how to volunteer,” Abdu-Shakoor said. “When we were passing out food and packets in downtown, a couple of people from the nearby shelter came to help. It was great to see Humanitarian Day stimulate other people to contribute and participate,” he added.
To learn more about Humanitarian Day, to volunteer or donate, please visit www.humanitarianday.com.