For the ninth year in a row, St. Louis Muslims and Jews have united to share common values of doing good works and giving back to the wider community.
This year, about 1000 volunteers gathered to help the community’s less fortunate, join Christians in celebrating the holidays, and build bridges in the society, St. Louis Post Dispatch reported.
“Our communities are more alike than we are different,” “Day of Service” co-chair Julia Williams said.
Volunteers gathered on Tuesday, December 24, on breakfast at Daar-Ul-Islam mosque near Ballwin.
Afterward, they started delivering hot meals and bags of goodies to impoverished families or seniors with disabilities, playing games with teens in juvenile detention, and delivering care packages to infants or young children at the St. Louis Crisis Nursery.
Volunteers also organized an “Ask Me Anything” conversation at Daar-Ul-Islam meant to allow members of the Jewish, Muslim and other faiths to talk about their shared values and histories.
“I really believe that this year it is more important than it has ever been to show up and to be willing to engage and to learn about the other,” Williams said.
“Showing up to an event like this is a form of resistance to small-mindedness, and to fear and to anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
“The more we can engage with one another and understand one another, the better place our world will be.”
The first Day of Service was kicked off in 2011 as a result of coordination between the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis, the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis (JCRC), and its Milford and Lee Bohm Social Justice Center.
It was created to help the St. Louis community on a large scale through service work and charitable projects.
The event takes place on Christmas to give recurring volunteers the opportunity to celebrate the holiday with their families, while also strengthening the relationship between the Jewish and Muslim communities.