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With Halal Turkeys, Muslim Couple Help Refugees Mark Thanksgiving

Several Muslim groups and Islamic centers across the United States have been working hard to help the less fortunate mark Thanksgiving with comfort and happiness.

In Princeton, New Jersey, Suzy Ismail and her husband Hamdy Mansour are making sure 137 refugee families will have halal thanksgiving meals delivered to their homes for a weeklong distribution.

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“We want to make sure our most vulnerable communities have a sense of connection and uplift them on Thanksgiving, so they feel that they are part of the community as well,” said Ismail, founding director of  Cornerstone Counseling Marriage & Family Intervention, a Princeton-based nonprofit, NorthJersey.com reported.

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Launching their Thanksgiving meal program two years ago, Mansour and other volunteers went door to door to bring American tradition to the homes of newly settled refugees. 

“I know it’s not much,” Mansour said Tuesday between deliveries. “It’s just food, but it lets them know, if you need anything there are people here that care.”

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Helping Refugees

Families received a halal 10-pound turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and vegetables all cooked at Douglass Pizzeria and Grill in Franklin Park, owned by Mansour, Ismail’s husband. 

Targeting newly settles refugees, Ismail hopes the Thanksgiving meals bring them comfort. 

“The idea of bringing meals cooked from a restaurant really helps us to elevate giving with a sense of dignity and supports a theme of constantly uplifting others,” she said.

Thanksgiving is a celebration observed on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. It is about giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.

Though it started as a Christian tradition, the celebration has become a cultural holiday observed by people of all faiths.