By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
The concept of charity appears in most of the world's religions including Islam. The Glorious Qur'an speaks of extending charity to all human beings. The Qur'an lays stress on the believers to care for the needy, the orphans, the destitute and the unfortunate members of the society. 'The believers ... are steadfast in prayers, and in whose wealth there is a right acknowledged, for the poor and the destitute. (Qur'an 70:22-24). The best charity is to feed a hungry person, said Prophet Muhammad (SAS).
Infused with such strong teachings of their faith, the American Muslim Voice volunteers appeared at the Loaves & Fishes homeless shelter in Sacramento to distribute food to 680 people. The Christmas eve meal was donated by the AMV Sacramento Chapter.
Loaves & Fishes feeds the hungry and shelters the homeless with the belief that "as often as you did it for one of my least brothers and sisters, you did it for me." (Matthew 25:40). Jesus said to his disciples, “There is no need for the people to go, give them something to eat yourselves.”(Matthew 16:14) Loaves & Fishes is a private charity; it neither solicits nor accepts government money, but relies solely on private donations to support its work of feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless.
According to the Loaves and Fishes counting more than 650 meals were served on the Christmas eve.
This event was televised by the Fox news and the KCRA Channel 3. Fox news team had spent more than two and half hours at that facility, and had broadcast three live segments, while discussing about our Muslim spirit. The KCRA Channel had talked with our youth volunteers. Both of these channels had shown these reports in different news timings throughout the day. Besides that, these reports were shown on a prime time between 5 and 8 pm.
Mohammad Asif Sattar, President of the AMV Greater Sacramento Chapter thanked the Sacramento Muslim community for "helping and participating in serving the humanity". "The board is thankful to all, who supported American Muslim Voice financially, morally and physically,' he said adding: "Honestly, we do not have words to explain the enthusiasm and spirit of our youth during this event. Special thanks and salute to the youth and their parents."
Imam Mumtaz Qasmi of the historic Sacramento Downtown Mosque, in his Friday khutba hailed the AMV Sacramento Chapter volunteer work at the homeless shelter. He emphasized that this should prove as a trend setting agenda for other Muslim organizations.
Thanking the AMV Sacramento Chapter for its great, heart-warming, miraculous work, Khalid Saeed, the AMV national president said the AMV's main goal is building better relationship on the grassroots level in all areas of life in our great country where ever we live.
" While keeping our own religious and cultural identities we as a community must be active part of American landscape, this is so important for the sake of our own future generations," Khalid Saeed said adding: " The work itself is not hard, but the hardest part has been and still is to educate our own community on the importance of this work and getting them to get on board and do their part."
The AMV President said it was so touching and heart-warming to see all the youth in action and all the enthusiasm of the parents in supporting and encouraging the kids to get involved. "We as an organization and as a community must keep this momentum going and Insha'Allah I have no doubt we will be very successful."
Toys and Warm Clothes drive: The AMV Sacramento Chapter also launched two more campaigns, i.e. collection of toys and warm clothes. It donated new toys to Shriners Hospital. The value of these toys were over $1000. Two extra large greeting cards were also sent to the children at Shriners hospital. These Good wishes and speedy recovery cards were signed by the children at Al-Arqam Islamic school and Salam school children. Dr. Shaista Rauf led this drive.
The toys were received by Melissa A. Wood, Associate Director of Development Shriners Hospital. The AMV Volunteers for toys collection and stuffing included: Ushnaas Sattar, Maria Tariq, Salma Iqbal, Dr. Shaista Rauf, ), Khalid Saeed, Asif Sattar, Hadia Tariq and Rameesha Sattar.
The AMV ladies also collected around 300 plus new and used warm cloths. This energetic team made sure that each and every cloth is washed, ironed and in good condition. Each clothing was packed in a clear plastic bag with a description tag. That tag was indicating the size, male or female dress.
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