TOPEKA, KANSAS – Thanks to a partnership between the Topeka Islamic Center and the non-profit “Let’s Help,” the needy and homeless in Kansas City will have a chance to mark Thanksgiving with a turkey meal provided by their Muslim neighbors.
“Even though we’re a small community, we were able to come together and collect enough money in order to give back a significant amount of turkeys to the Topeka community,” Jewel Makda, secretary of the Islamic Center’s governing council, told The Topeka Capital Journal.
“We find it very important to spend time with family and be grateful and thankful for what we have.”
“We’re here to show this is a value, something that we practice with our families,” Makda continued.
“It means a lot to us to be able to see these faces and know that they’re going to have food on their table and be with their families.”
In the fourth annual turkey giveaway, members of the Islamic Center passed out around 200 turkeys as well as fixings like corn, green beans, and stuffing on Saturday.
The initiative was widely praised by many, who said that getting a free turkey was a “blessing.”
“You just can’t say enough,” Tommy Green said Saturday outside Let’s Help in downtown Topeka. “I can’t be grateful enough.”
Abdul Alzoubi, president of the Muslim Student Association at Washburn University, said the turkey giveaway gave Muslim students an opportunity to help the community.
“It’s a great opportunity for us as Muslim students to help the community, to show that we’re here to help and we care about the community and its overall health,” Alzoubi said.
“We’re here to help, no matter their race or religion. We welcome anyone who needs help to come to us.”
Alzoubi added that these events help Muslims to explain the true Islamic faith to their neighbors.
“It’s a big issue right now that we aren’t portrayed as caring about anyone other than ourselves, sometimes, and that’s not how we’re raised or taught in the Islamic faith,” he said.
“We would prefer people would ask us questions than assume or go by what they’ve heard by media or by friends.”