Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Whoever amongst you sees an evil, he must change it with his hand; if he is unable to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is unable to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest form of Faith” [Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Hadith 184].
“When you see something that isn’t right you have an obligation to make it right.” – Member of Beth Shalom congregation, repeated by Rabbi Marc Rudolph.
A YouTube video of the Rabbi can be found here:
Members of the congregation at Beth Shalom, hosted the Hunger Van on December 7th, 2014, in Naperville/Aurora. Joined in for this deed were members of Islamic Center of Naperville and other friends of Hunger Van. Together they worked towards one cause, i.e. to correct an injustice in the world!
Even if it was for a single meal, it was difference worth making. It was hope given to the hundreds of homeless men and women living in the area. It was a life saved. It was two different communities working together towards a common idea of ‘Sadaqah’ / ‘S’daqah’ / ‘Tzedakha’ / ‘Charity’, and trying to make a difference in the world. It was humanity prevailing.
Sadaqah or S’daqah isn’t just about generosity and charity it is about the importance of justice prevailing in societies. There are millions of people who suffer from injustice, injustice of not being able to survive in today’s fast moving society.
A lot of homeless members are educated, hard working individuals who have had one giant crisis that has made them fall into an abyss of homelessness. These people find it hard to combat homelessness without the proper tools. When food should be the least of their concerns for getting back on their feet it is a huge hurdle faced by the millions homeless. In a society where food wastage is at an all time high, [according to the Environmental Protection Agency, “food leftovers are the single-largest component of the waste stream by weight in the United States.”], it is an injustice to see hundreds of people going hungry every day. In a world of surplus there is a shortage of humanity. It is our responsibility as humble citizens to fill this gap.
Zamir Hassan created the Hunger Van project just to pursue this cause. A cause that he thought was worth devoting all of his time to. He currently runs feeding programs in 20 plus cities with the help of 3000 plus volunteers from various faiths. He has been able to join forces for the common good of society, which is a great feat on its own.
On Dec 7th, 2014, he joined hands with the congregation of Beth Shalom and the members of the Islamic Center of Naperville to provide meals to the homeless in the Naperville/Aurora community. To see volunteers in action please click here.
Crews were divided into stations: The sandwich station consisted of a row of Z shaped honey scribblers, cinnamon sprinklers, sunflower butter spreaders and banana choppers and placers. The salad station consisted of green mixers, special ingredients blenders, salad packers and lid sealers.
The packing crew was responsible for strategically placing uneven containers to avoid spillage and wrapping the completed product with love, the cleaning crew made sure the Temple kitchen was returned to its spotless features.
Everyone had a job to do and it was a fantastic venture, which ended in great success.
A few members of the team also went out on the local streets to hand food to the homeless.
If you would like to be a part of the Hunger Van project or would like to bring the project to your area please register to volunteer for a Hunger Run at http://www.hungervan.org
The author of this blog, Falak Zaffer Ghatala, is a resident of Chicago, IL and volunteers for multiple non-profits (including the Hunger Van) to assist the needy in Chicago. She has a Masters in Chemical Biology but has changed careers to serve humanity. She currently works at AAFS as an Adult Education Instructor and spends her free time studying religion and running a campaign called ‘The Do Good Campaign’. Her passion lies in doing good and truly believes that: “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca.