Coalition of groups says it wants to help those on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic as communal meals in mosques.
The Muslim holy month of Ramadan has been heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic with believers unable to carry out acts of charity and generosity normally associated with the month.
A group of New Yorkers, however, are working around the restrictions brought about by the ongoing lockdowns to feed thousands of people.
Muslim groups in the Big Apple will be using the city’s iconic food carts to distribute hot meals to residents, particularly those in need, as well as key workers.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L Adams is working alongside groups, such as the Pakistani American Youth Society (PAYS), Muslims Giving Back (MGB), NYPD Muslim Officers Society, Khyber Society of America, Shorefront Coalition, Innayah Services Inc, Yemeni American Merchants Association -YAMA, and Gyro King, to get meals to New Yorkers.
Adams explained: “This year, Ramadan comes during a time of great hardship for so many New Yorkers throughout our city.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated two million people across our city are facing the prospect of food insecurity. In addition, mosques across the city are closed, meaning many Muslims who relied on these institutions for iftar meals now have nowhere to go.”
Do you know about food carts in the U.S.? They are a popular way for Americans to eat on the go. Several local organizations in New York have launched four food carts that will now give out free halal iftar meals to everyone during #Ramazan. Read more: https://t.co/mFDbpGYe6O pic.twitter.com/xU2gYSMCqS— U.S. Embassy Islamabad (@usembislamabad) May 4, 2020
Dedicated to victims
The initiative has already helped feed more than 12,000 people with a further 25,000 meals planned.
Carts distributing the meals are emblazoned with an epitaph dedicated to victims of the Covid-19 pandemic.
PAYS co-founder Kashif Hussain, who lost his mother Mahmooda Shaheen, to the disease said: “In the religion of Islam, if you feed the most vulnerable and needy in the name of your loved ones, an infinite amount of reward will go to that person. I wanted to do this in her name and everyone we lost.”
In Islam both feeding those in need and providing someone with food to break their fast with are considered virtuous acts.
New York is home to the largest population of Muslims in the US with more than 770,000 members of the faith in the city.
Organisers have set up a crowdfunding page for those who want to donate to the effort.