New York Shia Youth Feed Hungry

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Preparing the foodThe youth group gathered at the soup kitchen at 9 in the morning and worked on preparing food they had brought for the hungry.

Preparing the foodPublisher’s Note: Islamic organizations and many youth groups around the world participate in “Feed the Hungry” programs throughout the year and in the holy month of Ramadan. If you have a story, feel free to share it in the Comments below.

On September 15, the 25th of Ramadan, the youth of Shah-e-Najaf Islamic Center in New York, along with Resident Scholar Sayyid Rehan Naqvi, took the initiative to organize a soup kitchen to feed the hungry of their community in order to realize the spiritual elevation brought by fasting in the holy month of Ramadhan. The youth said it was an eye-opener for them to learn that there are over 200,000 residents of Long Island classified as hungry. 

The youth group gathered at the soup kitchen at 9 in the morning and worked on preparing food they had brought for the hungry. The they worked diligently preparing the meal and cleaning up the site in order to prepare it for lunch. A vast variety of food items were prepared, including buttered bread, rice with peas, baked chicken, salad, bananas, diced fruit, dessert, coffee, and juice. Before opening the doors of the soup kitchen, Sayyid Naqvi had the volunteers gather and join hands for a prayer. The prayer that was chosen by Maulana was the prayer for unity. Brother Bilal Hussain followed with a short motivating talk on feeding the poor as practiced by Imam Ali and the other Imams (peace be upon them).

As the guests entered the hall, the volunteers loaded each tray with food and it was handed to the guests. As the homeless were enjoying their meal, volunteers walked around and offered their service if anyone needed anything. As the guests finished eating, many volunteers made it a point sit down and talk with them, discussing issues concerning their lives, politics, and religion. The guests seemed to be very pleased with the friendly atmosphere at the soup kitchen, something they are not used to. 

A little bit after noon, the volunteers bade farewell to the guests as they left the hall and quickly began to clean up. Coupled with the food and wonderful hospitality, the guests seemed very happy. This was the first time that these young individuals worked so closely with those in need, and it will certainly have a lasting effect. Volunteers were particularly struck when one of the guests asked, “When will you guys be coming back?”

In the words of volunteer Ali al-Musawi, “I fast and I feel the pain of hunger, but I will never say that I’ve felt the pain of the hungry. The hungry are those who don’t know when or if their next meal will come. That pain of not knowing if you will eat must be a completely different pain, something none of us has ever felt before.”

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