Chicago (July 29, 2020) — Zakat Foundation of America will deliver and distribute for free some 7,500 pounds of farm-fresh produce, and 1,500 medical masks to Pilsen families hit hard by the pandemic and its five-month unemployment fallout Wednesday, Sept. 2, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., at Benito Juarez Community Academy.
"I am so excited to serve alongside Zakat Foundation to serve our community,” said 25th Ward Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez. “The need is huge, and I am here to serve. Count me in for anything.”
The food and medical PPE (personal protective equipment) relief for hurting families comes in the wake of Congress hanging workers out to dry by letting $600-a-week unemployment benefits vanish July 25.
Rocked by COVID-19 surges, months of on-again, off-again shutdowns, and violent police crackdowns on growing crowds of diverse anti-racist protestors, American working families are reeling, none more than Latino, African American and Native American communities.
“Godliness means acting quickly with compassion for the vulnerable,” said Halil Demir, executive director of Zakat Foundation, a Bridgeview, Illinois-based international humanitarian charity increasingly called to serve the suffering here at home. “We didn’t wait for an invitation. We’ve moved all across the country to bring these victims of racism and persecution the most basic sustenance of life cut from them — fresh fruits, vegetables, and milk.”
The global charity has delivered about 1.3 million pounds of produce, milk, and hundreds of thousands of PPE items into countless food- and health care desert communities from coast to coast. It’s conducting this distribution with partner organizations UNO (United Neighborhood Organization), Benito Juarez Academy, and Heartland Alliance.
“I want to thank Zakat Foundation so much for thinking of us,” said Sigcho-Lopez. “My office is more than glad to contribute in any capacity.”
He’ll have plenty of high-profile Latino and local government leadership in his company, with Aldermen George Cardenas, Mike Rodriguez, and Aron Ortiz committing to help during Tuesday’s food and protective mask giveaway.
State Representatives Tony Munoz and Chuy Garcia, along with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, will also help with the hand out.
Along with Zakat Foundation relief workers, they’ll pass out 300 crates of produce fresh from local farmers, each box brimming with 25 pounds of colorful fruits and vegetables, including fresh tomatoes, apples, oranges, cucumbers, lettuce, celery, carrots, asparagus, onions, potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables. Substantial refugee and immigrant communities also live in Pilsen and its surrounding neighborhoods and will benefit from the food and medical mask distribution. Each family will receive a 25-pound produce box and one bag containing five protective masks.
“For two-decades, Zakat Foundation has stood with the oppressed, providing aid to underrepresented communities throughout the world. Now is no time for us to stay silent,” said Amna Mirza, the global charity’s communications director who originally conceived the idea of Zakat Foundation’s fresh-food rescue campaign. “This is what Zakat Foundation stands for. To truly feel connected to each other. To understand the plight of our neighbor. To feel empathy. To understand it’s our humanity that connects us. It’s putting our common humanity above what divides us.”
WHO: Zakat Foundation of America
WHAT: FREE fresh produce and medical mask distribution
WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020 (5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., or until food runs out)
WHERE: Benito Juarez Community Academy • 1450 W Cermak Rd • Chicago, IL 60608