The Al Mahdi Muslim Community joined other Muslims around the world in celebrating the holy month of Ramadhan. The month was marked with fasting, devotional prayers, reflection and charity. Through fasting, one can appreciate the terrible pangs of hunger faced by the needy. Homelessness and food poverty is a dark and hidden crisis in the community. These long fasts in summer lasting almost 19 hours gave us an insight on how it feels to stay hungry; despite knowing that at the end of the day we are fortunate to have a meal as opposed to those who don’t have access to the bare minimum amount of food.
In reaching out to the needy, the youths of the Wessex Jamaat community launched ‘’Wessex Ramadhan CAN-paign’. The aim is to share the goodness of the month of Ramadhan by assisting the less fortunate in our local community through food items. The youth collected donations of non-perishable food items and cash donations. The contribution from the community was presented to representatives from Food Banks and Homeless Centres in Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport.
“It is gratifying that the Al Mahdi Wessex community by coming together to raise funds and collect the tins for the homeless and the needy have put into action the true spirit of fasting in Ramadan. This is a blessing.” said the Imam, Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo.
Through the generous donations of our community members, over £300 was raised. This contributed towards the purchase of a massive total of over 1,300 food items. These gifts of food are being presented to Drop-In Centres in Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport.
Philip Rutt of Fareham and Gosport Basics Bank’ said, “We are delighted to be supported once again by the young people from the Al Mahdi Centre. It is great to have a continuing relationship with you. We are totally dependent on donations of food and toiletries and the donation is timely. It comes at the time of the year when our stocks are depleting and so makes a big difference to us, but more especially to the people in our community who need help and support at this time.”
In expressing appreciation for the generous gift of foods, Michael Woolley, Co-ordinator Friends without Borders, said, “Food is a large part of the service we offer to those who use our services. They are often in extremely difficult situations. Some may not have the right to work after arriving in the UK as refugees or to seek asylum, often with nothing other than the clothes they wear. On days when there is no supermarket supply to our group, the Al Mahdi supplies make a splendid back-up.”
Furthermore, in appreciating the gift, Jenni Wessels, team leader at All Saints Youth Hostel said, “We are very grateful for the generosity of the young people at the Mosque and thank you for the difference you have made to the young people here at All Saints.”
The Lead Coordinator, Talaya Arifi commented: “This project was very insightful because it puts us in the shoes of those who cannot afford food to eat – imagine walking through the door of a food bank and having to ask for food; what a daunting moment.”
To conclude, the 1438/2017 Ramadhan CAN-Paign team would like to take this opportunity to thank every single individual that donated and helped towards this great cause – May Allah (swt) reward you and your family. We hope that through these donations, we can show people in these difficult situations that they are not alone, and that there are people who care for them nearby in their community.