This is a wonderful story of Americans helping Americans during the Thanksgiving season. American Muslims are raising money to purchase turkeys to be donated to needy families so that they may enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
The effort I'm talking about (I'm sure there are others around the nation by now) is in and around Chicago, Illinois. Young American Muslims and their families donate money and that money is used to purchase turkeys for needy families.
ABC News covered the story last year:
Today, and for the past several years, this effort is led by Dr. Jihad Shoshara* and Dr. Sofia Shakir*, a wonderful husband and wife team, who are active in many local efforts to help the needy and to organize American Muslims for meaningful causes. The effort was originally organized by another longtime community activist - civil rights attorney Kamran Memon.
Here is Dr. Shoshara's message for this year's Turkey Drive:
In Sha Allah this finds you all in the best of health, and highest of Iman.
The Ninth Annual Chicago Muslim Turkey Drive is now underway! For the past eight years, the Muslim community of Chicago has risen to a need every autumn - to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves celebrate Thanksgiving, the national holiday that all Americans regardless of faith share in celebration. Together, we have given thousands of turkeys over these years to families who would otherwise go without; last year alone, you donated six hundred turkeys to needy Chicagoans in Jackson Park and Marquette Park, and God Willing, we aim to repeat our success once more! Once again, the main beneficiaries of our community's generosity will be needy families of the children at Emmett Till Academy (formerly McCosh Elementary School) at 65th and Champlain in Chicago.
As we have done in past years, we are again joining forces with the Sabeel Food Pantry. Sabeel has provided food for anyone in need for years on Chicago's North Side, and with the help of community volunteers to coordinate and distribute the turkeys will extend their services this Thanksgiving. Sabeel is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization in the state of Illinois; this means that once again, your contributions will be tax deductible, and all who donate to Sabeel can receive a receipt for tax purposes. (For more info, check Sabeel's website at www.sabeelpantry.org)
We are also blessed to have the support of the Inner-city Muslim Action Network (IMAN), who will In Sha Allah distribute some of the turkeys to needy families in the area of its offices in Marquette Park.
We are now accepting donations for the drive. Please send your tax-deductible check written out to "Sabeel Food Pantry" with "Turkey Drive" written in the memo section to:**
Donations can also be given online via PayPal. To donate via PayPal, please go to www.sabeelpantry.org and click on "Donate".
The Annual Turkey Drive is a symbol of the true nature of our faith at a time when it is sorely needed. Please help us to continue it and make it grow!
Jazak Allahu Khairan,
Jihad Shoshara, MD
This is a great effort that gives meaning to the phrase "Faith In Action"! Here is some more media coverage of last year's turkey drive:
At a time when food budgets are strained, a semitrailer loaded with turkeys is being given to families at Emmett Till Elementary School. The frozen turkeys are a gift from the Chicago Area's Muslim Community.
"It's just a gesture of neighborliness from the Muslim community of Chicago. You know most of us work here, live here, live our lives here," said Dr. Shoshara.
The school, located near 63rd and Cottage Grove, was selected because 99-percent of the population is below the poverty line. For many of the families, it's a real treat.
"Well they probably would have had the usual. McDonalds meals or whatever they could afford," said Mary Rodgers, principal Emmett Till Elementary School. "This is exceptionally nice."
It's the eighth time the group has donated to a Chicago school.
"I'm just glad to get this turkey. It's less for me to worry about," said one parent.
"Means a lot. Put some in our freezer and some in our stomach," said another.
After the September Eleventh attacks, the image of Muslim Americans took a terrible hit. That damage has yet to be repaired, but events like this are a step in the right direction.
"I think a lot of problems we have as a community (are) that we haven't been here very long so it takes awhile to integrate and get to know the Muslim community. It's one way to show what we think is the best part of our religion. To help serve the poor," said Dr. Shoshara.
This is a great effort so pass it on to your email networks! Thanks!
* Jihad and Sofia are very close, personal friends
** The address was removed from the original email post - please direct donations to Sabeel Food Pantry!