A Birmingham mosque has turned into a source of support for some of the most disadvantaged people in the city amid freezing winter weather and COVID-19 pandemic.
Mosque volunteers distributed hundreds of meals in the snow on Saturday, January 30, amid massive demand from people.
The effort is part of the annual ‘Winter Freeze’ campaign, run by the mosque and the Islamic Relief UK charity, Metro reported.
Islamic Relief, which began in Birmingham, said the equivalent of 2,000 substantial meals were handed out overall.
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Between 65 and 70 per cent of the foodbank’s users are from outside the Muslim community and the deliveries take place across the city.
Saleem Ahmed, Head of Services & Welfare at the mosque, said: “The scale of need is massive. We have hundreds of families contacting us each week, as well as the police, local schools, charities and various organisations who say they have families who are struggling.
“Sometimes they need financial help, and we have a hardship fund we can support them with, and sometimes it is food poverty.
“Some families are forced to choose between food and heating, and that’s where we come in to help them to plug that gap.”
In previous years, the mosque, which is a registered charity, has opened up its hall during the cold weather to give rough sleepers overnight shelter and food, but due to Covid has had to move the Winter Freeze project outside.
Huzaifa Lorgat, Senior Fundraiser, Midlands and Wales, for Islamic Relief, has witnessed growing demand during the pandemic.
“For us it’s an hour or two of our day but for another person this could be a lifesaver,” he said.
“The food could last for another month and the gloves and hat could keep them warm this winter. ‘Poverty is rife and as a charity you see the devastation in other countries but to see it on the rise on your own doorstep hits you twice as hard.”
Islam lays a great emphasis on the virtue of neighborliness, stressing on Muslims’ individual duty to be good to neighbors.
This act of generosity falls in line with what many British Muslims have been doing to help their community.